Neko Case

Anti Records

It’s a rough time to be an alt-country fan. Wilco’s gone indie rock, the Jayhawks have broken up, Ryan Adams is doing whatever it is Ryan Adams does, and now Neko Case has put out the most tepid recording of her career. It’s a shame, because Case nearly always has something interesting to say, belting out discomforting tales of a dark, weird country—a sort of aural version of Twin Peaks, a land of towering pines, old brick buildings, and a cold wind that chills more than your bones. Prior to this one, every Neko Case release has had at least one track that makes you stop whatever you’re doing and listen. Not so this time. Although Case is still backed by the usual suspects from Calexico and Giant Sand, and she has even brought in Garth Hudson (of The Band) to assist on keys, the album lacks a standout track. Instead, the whole album just washes over you and suddenly ends without making much of an impression at all. Despite multiple listens, I can’t really say much more than that, and that may be the most damning indictment of all.