Joni Mitchell promised she wouldn't make any more new records. But here she is, out of "retirement" with her first album of new songs since 1998's "Taming the Tiger." While "Shine" is hardly a creative rejuvenation for Mitchell, it is a mature and sensible work that affords some modest rewards. She opens with a jazzy piano-based instrumental to foil any immediate expectations and then ambles through nine more conventional songs, including a remake of one of her greatest hits, "Big Yellow Taxi." The title track is a long prayer of a song, and "If I Had a Heart" is an ambitious art song despairing over the current "holy war," judiciously underscored by winds and strings. An adaptation of a Rudyard Kipling poem, "If," with Herbie Hancock on piano, provides the coda to a stark but elegant outing.
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