Like fellow denizen of the dark side Nick Cave, Cat Power's Chan Marshall has lightened up considerably on her newest disc. You Are Free (out Tuesday) is a gem of a record, more varied than her earlier material, less suicidal and even hopeful in tone. This may be the influence of producer Adam Kasper (Queens of the Stone Age and Foo Fighters), who keeps things delicate and measured while injecting a dose of punchy rock energy (the spiky He War channels Sleater-Kinney) by recruiting pals like Dave Grohl and Eddie Vedder. It ain't all sweetness and light. Marshall keeps her characteristic voice-breaking delivery and spooky lyrics, with recurrent motifs of children and loneliness, guns and violence. And the sweet strings are almost creepy.