The success of a covers album depends as much on the musicians, arrangements and production as on the repertoire, as Will Oldham appears to have learned from last year's hugely disappointing studio exchange with Tortoise, The Brave And The Bold. He wisely picked up with Greg Weeks and Meg Baird of Philadelphia's Espers, who better understand the limits of Oldham's well-cultivated beautiful loser shtick and where to apply the light and shade without detracting from his lonesome moan.
The song selection is as suitably wacky as any Bonnie 'Prince' Billy fan could hope, with Oldham adding his singnature sighing resignation to rustic takes on Mickey Newbury's I Came To Hear The Music, Björk's I've Seen It All, Danzig's Am I Demon, Phil Ochs's My Life and Frank Sinatra's Cycles. He saves the best for last -- an unlikely crack at R. Kelly's The World's Greatest, which works way better than you'd ever imagine. Much more entertaining than any lo-fi demos from the Letting Go sessions.