Resigned vulnerability has always resonated in Jeff Tweedy's voice, no matter what emotions his songs express. His optimism sounds accidental, his sadness detached, his anguish ethereal.
It's a quality that seems to make Tweedy stand apart from his songs, like a dreamer watching a vision. "Why, I wonder, is my heart full of hope?" he pondered passively on "I'm Always in Love" from the 1999 album Summerteeth.
On Wilco's seventh studio album, Tweedy stoically endures lots of big emotions. He confronts lost love with sheer logic: "We can't be flown; one wing will never fly." He factually explains the outcome of dying for someone else's cause: "All my blood will spring and spill; I'll thrash the air, then be still."
Wilco's lineup has remained steady after a period of turbulence earlier this decade. The continuity is noticeable on these tracks. The mostly mid-tempo folk-rock compositions brim with the confidence and maturity of a veteran band.
Add another solid album to Wilco's formidable repertoire.