Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Ghosteen (Ghosteen Ltd./AWAL Recordings) – This double-LP/double-CD epic is the conclusion of a trilogy of albums that address the death of Cave’s son. Those who found the second album, Skeleton Tree, tragic, will find that choirs and orchestration take us to grander grief — or maybe to overstatement.
Cave’s baritone voice, with occasional falsetto runs, sounds more like John Cale’s. His poetry loss rings true, but the tunes’ segmented movements add majesty that sometimes seems excessive.
That Dog, Old LP (Universal) – Among the 1990s bands coming back to the well for a 20-year refresher, people often forget Anna Waronker’s witty indie trio, That Dog. This album-length studio reunion finds them minus violinist Petra Haden, but with her sister Rachel on bass. Though never as brash as Belly or Bis, baroque-pop tracks sparkle with clever lyricism, and on tunes like “Down Without a Fight,” Waronker lets loose with heavy guitar.