Leah Greenblatt
February 25, 2009 AT 05:00 AM EST

Middle Cyclone

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Neko Case
genre
Country

We gave it an B

Flame-haired chanteuse Neko Case has spent years building her reputation as the reigning boss lady of alt-country — a status predicated largely on her unimpeachably rich, expressive voice. It’s only occasionally, though, that the material matches her gift; instead, a husky, atmospheric sort of placidity dominates. Middle Cyclone is the kind of record it’s nearly impossible to hate: a pleasantly swirling strum and twang of guitars, gentle percussion, and That Voice. But few tracks here ignite great passion, either; even the highly sing-alongable ”People Got a Lotta Nerve” is not — alas! — especially nervy. B

Download This: Listen to songs from the new album on the singer’s MySpace

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