My first, and, admittedly, long overdue Tom Waits experience, and I was not disappointed. If the songs took a while to grow on me, Waits’ distinctive, gravely voice didn’t, and I was captivated instantly. Lyrically very strong, some of the imaginary worlds Waits creates are joyous, if a little disturbing. Waits brilliantly blends the surrealism with fantastic melodies, and this is what makes this album such a pleasure. The arrangements are truly exquisite (the piano on Tango till they’re sore is a particular standout). For me, 19 tracks on an album is slightly excessive, but who am I to argue with the choices this man makes? Like nothing I’ve ever heard before. And that’s a good thing.