Mitchell is 54, and we probably shouldn't have expected anyone to teach an old folk-jazz singer new tricks. but then Mitchell's fans probably would argue that she wasn't broke, so why fix her? Which is to say that this, while it's Mitchell's first album of new songs in four years, isn't anything all that new. Her voice is still a little toneless, her delivery a trifle cold. Her songs are still full of acerbic wit, distant poetry (including Blake in the title tune) and the occasional lapse in taste. Mitchell is also still able to attract first-rate talent, such as Wayne Shorter, whose soprano sax decorates six of the album's 11 tracks. Her ex-husband Larry Klein appears too, playing bass on three cuts.
Mitchell is used to traveling in fast company; she performs on pianist Herbie Hancock's new CD and has just finished touring with Bob Dylan and Van Morrison. She's that rare commodity-- a popular entertainer who can be relied on to consistently produce quality material.
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