The Old Magic
Label: Yep Roc Records
We join pub rock/new wave icon Nick Lowe nearly two decades into his second act as a lovelorn, country-tinged troubadour of unparalleled warmth and wit. Romance is The Old Magic's great subject, most of it faded (see the devastating "I Read a Lot") or quickly fading (requiring an emergency shipment of "Stoplight Roses"), though Lowe's gentle, wizened countrypolitan croon makes despair sound positively cheerful. He's cool and unflappable here as always, though he does get a little riled on aggro-lounge jam "The Poisoned Rose"; "Checkout Time" ruminates on death, but this dude is ageless.