Nick Lowe The Convincer

Considered the tail end of a trilogy that included his previous two albums, The Impossible Bird and Dig My Mood, The Convincer finds the British legend once again searching for a sound somewhere between a classic early '70s Nashville production and full-scale Burt Bacharach-style pop. But as always, it is the songs that are at the core. The album begins with the claustrophobically bluesy "Homewrecker" but soon switches gears to some great bittersweet ballads like "Lately I've Let Things Slide" and "I'm A Mess." Most significantly, this album (along with the previous two) is a rare display of aging gracefully. Although Lowe always seemed more in tune with the traditional craft of songwriting than many of his peers, here he is perfectly at home covering Johnny Rivers' "Poor Side Of Town," which ironically doesn't sound that far removed from the British Invasion's first attempts at interpreting American soul. There probably won't be too many other albums of such class released this year. (Yep Roc)