Spin's August 2009 Wilco cover showed a damaged bandleader — Jeff Tweedy — grown healthily and fruitfully boring. That might be a warning sign for fair-weather fans. Still, a good life equals good music on Wilco (The Album), with Tweedy making as bright, lush, and (sometimes) catchy use of happiness as Bruce Springsteen and David Byrne in their realms, at his best taking a left turn into crime horror with "Bull Black Nova" — where the narrator is covered in blood and fleeing the scene but knows he's "not going far."

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Peter S. Scholtes