The Weakerthans Live at the Burton Cummings Theatre

The Weakerthans Live at the Burton Cummings Theatre
It's rare for a live album to be so good it deserves repeat listens, but from the first strains of Canadian indie classic "Everything Must Go!" it's clear that Burton Cummings is that kind of disc. Because that song — long an anthem for the mopers — is documented here as something much more positive and optimistic, an example of how the Weakerthans' songs change over the years. That tune leads into the upbeat "Tournament of Hearts," off the band's latest disc, Reunion Tour, and the two make a lot of sense together — they show how the band have gone, thematically, from hopeless to hopeful over the years, and that thread is what makes all the songs on this album work so well together. The wonderfully recorded 18-track disc, which features a nice cover painting from bassist Greg Smith, lets all the instruments shine, especially the ones that aren't usually there, like the triumphant trumpet on "Plea from a Cat Named Virtute" or the chilling violin on "Night Windows," both of which add wonderfully to the tunes. The accompanying DVD provides a nice in-case-you-missed-it chance to view the show up close. Take it as a hint to see the band next time they roll through town. (Anti/Epitaph)