It's rough enough being Ron Sexsmith - y'know, a perpetually overlooked and underrated songwriter's songwriter. So just think of how much it'd suck to be the British Ron Sexsmith, without even the excuse of being a Canuck underdog from the Great White North. I figure it's kinda like that for Ed Harcourt, who gets major props from pals in the biz and writes very good songs with a Sexsmithish Nick Lowe bent but has never had the breakout success of, say, Damien Rice. Strangers showcases very literate philosophical musings on topics like death, Gen X malaise and the love-hate dialectic, with tunes that tend toward either gentle acoustic strumming or shiny Britrock. The two that diverge from this template - the pump-organ-driven post-war memoir The Music Box and the bouncy new wave Born In The 70s - hint at his full potential. The rest is too sweetly swooning, but should please Coldplay fans.