yes, it's a little sleepy, and new music from her would be preferred, but there are some redeeming qualities here. for one, it is her third album of covers (or predominantly covers, counting Jukebox, which had two originals) but the songs chosen here must be personal favorites rather than familiar songs pandering to the listener-as-consumer (as was the case with The Covers Record from 20 years ago).*** with a couple of exceptions, the songs are not well-known or often covered, and that's a good thing. the second good thing is that her voice sounds great. every vocalist mellows and deepens with age, but her voice sounds like liquid gold here, all honey and bourbon.

unfortunately, the arrangements are uninspired and the musicianship is fairly rote, which serves to pull the rug out from under the vocals. as a result, the most straight-forward songs are the best, and the best of the best is Billie Holiday's "I'll Be Seeing You", delivered in a soul-withering, funereal, end-of-the-movie wave goodbye. it's purely devastating.

*** (but maybe not. apparently Matador didn't like her choices on the 2000 album or the resulting sound of the record and did not market it aggressively. but the songs are much more familiar, and show up in soundtracks, etc. on a regular basis.)

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