A record that's more intriguing than sustaining. Mitchell's arty pretensions are reinforced by her collaboration and emulation of the late jazz giant Charles Mingus, but there's another aspect to the affair. Mingus' rough sense of humor seems to have sharpened Mitchell's wit, as well, and for all its pretensions this is easily her best record since "Hejira." The lyrics to "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" actually fit that jazz classic, which is a testament to Mitchell's verbal genius, and even though most of the music is more synthetic and learned than deeply felt, it never swerves from the listenable.
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