Cowboy Junkies

As the title suggests, Early 21st Century Blues finds Cowboy Junkies reinterpreting some well-tapped covers as a haunting series of hushed, plaintive narratives and low-key laments that are mellow to the point of being morose. The Junkies strain little to place their signature sound on Springsteen's brooding "Brothers Under the Bridge" and "You're Missing," as well as George Harrison's dreary downer "Isn't It a Pity." They also deflate Dylan's "License to Kill" and U2's "One" just as effectively. When they actually break a sweat by introducing a rapper into their relatively kinetic take on John Lennon's "I Don't Want to Be a Soldier," the juxtaposition throws the setup out of sync. Mostly, though, the band stews in its trademark melancholia, and while that's a fine fix for Junkies enthusiasts, antidepressants are advised for the unaware.

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Lee Zimmerman