Greg Kot
September 25, 2009 AT 04:00 AM EDT

David Gray sings in the key of melancholy so well that he’s become the musical equivalent of a well-worn couch: comfortable and reassuring, but easy to take for granted. On his seventh studio album, Draw the Line, he gets his freak on (as much as a confirmed electro-folkie can), rolling in a gospel choir, Annie Lennox, and a more pronounced backbeat. ”Stella the Artist” nearly rocks, and Gray actually sounds like he’s cutting loose. Who knew? B

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