The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett
Label: Pias America
Mark Oliver Everett has been adept at finding new ways to bum us out ever since Eels' first hit "Novocaine for the Soul." Having explored deathly concept albums (Electro-Shock Blues) and bare-bones acoustic (End Times), he gets as down-in-the-mouth as ever here, but with the orchestrated sounds of Blinking Lights and Other Revelations, he comes off like a dour Randy Newman or Nick Lowe, from the tragedy-stricken "Lockdown Hurricane" to the folksy "Parallels" and picaresque "Agatha Chang." He's probably been waiting to title a Tim Burton-esque tune "Series of Misunderstandings" for years.