Mountain Goats Get Lonely

Chronicling a crippling break-up, Get Lonely is a post-modern answer to Blood on the Tracks with John Darnielle opting to focus on minutiae rather than epic metaphors to convey the deep pain of lost love. As such, his powerful voice isn’t quite beaten but it’s wounded and weakening; he’s getting through the days and nights but it’s hard as hell. "Wild Sage” has a commandingly mixed piano measuring out the beats of one of many compelling mini-travelogues on the record. "Half Dead” documents the blur of the mundane after suffering through severe heartbreak. Anyone who’s been there can verify that Darnielle nails it perfectly. The music complements the lyrics wonderfully, capturing the teetering sanity of the dumped. The title track is understated but visceral for its sparseness; the loneliness is palpable via the quiet, babbling wordplay. "Woke Up New” is the catchiest sad song of the year, and Darnielle is a demented bastard for writing such a jaunty melody for a disturbing depiction of severe emotional distress. The Mountain Goats of old come alive anew on the skittering drum track, "If You See Light,” which is the most Darnielle raises his voice here, but he crashes again for "Cobra Tattoo.” Full of his unique observational writing, Get Lonely is a triumph for Darnielle, even if it sounds like he can barely make it out of bed. (4AD)