Josh Rouse and Kurt Wagner Chester

Two rising middle-American songwriting talents, Josh Rouse and Lambchop's Kurt Wagner, combine to create a winning five-song EP. The Nashville collaboration had Wagner pen the lyrics, while Rouse, who burst onto the scene with his Dressed Up Like Nebraska debut, handled the music. The warm-sounding songs feature members of Rouse's band and Lambchop, including Malcolm Travis (Sugar), David Henry and Curt Perkins. The EP comes together around "Table Dance," a six-plus minute sweep of cello, acoustic guitar and a simple drum beat. Chester delivers a handful of quiet, startlingly simple pop songs that flow directly into your memory. As musical marriages go, this one makes it to the altar without a shotgun in sight. It's all good. (Slow River)