At this stage, it’d be mad to expect sweeping changes from a new Lambchop record, and the loungy, intricate and patient Mr. M (Mr. Metuntil a libelous baseball mascot got involved) satisfies the rule, for the most part. But in its four-year gestation period (the longest in the Nashville band’s history), Kurt Wagner has added a few, subtle strings to his bow.
Since 2008’s OH (Ohio), Wagner’s collaborated with Cortney Tidwell on the collection of country covers, KORT. And while Mr. M never comes close to a hoedown, it contains some of the most direct songs to have flown the Lambchop banner, including a straight up love song: Never My Love. Alas, the finest moments remain when Wagner is at his poetic, observant best. “The wine tasted like sunshine in a basement,” he sings on the stellar Gone Tomorrow, reminding us that while new tricks aren’t beyond all old dogs, sometimes they just aren’t as good.