Lazaretto (Third Man/Columbia)
Once one of the most innovative artists in garage rock, Jack White is now focusing most of his creativity on vinyl distribution gimmicks and deluxe packaging for his tunes. Unfortunately, his actual music sounds more and more like typical retro blues rock. Considering how worried he is about the Black Keys ripping him off, it’s odd that he doesn’t mind how much he’s starting to sound like the Black Crowes.
Still, overall quality remains high, -making this a more solid listen than some White Stripes albums. He spent a lot more time recording Lazaretto than any of his previous efforts, and the densely layered sonic detail keeps things interesting. Touches of country fiddle and pedal steel gently offset the roaring arena rock riffs in a similar way to peak Rolling Stones. It’s weird seeing him slowly turn into the kind of dad rocker he used to be the opposite of, but maybe this was his plan all along.
Top track: High Ball Stepper
Jack White plays the ACC July 31.