Browne's last LP, Running on Empty, was superb, an instant classic that seemed to sum up his soft-rocking style and gently apocalyptic '70s philosophy. It's also a tough act to follow. On Hold Out, Browne matches his best on a couple of tunes, like Call It a Loan, in which he fights to hold onto his treasured melancholy, and the lyrically intelligent That Girl Could Sing. But both the opening track, a parody called Disco Apocalypse, and the closer, Hold On Hold Out, which contains an embarrassing soul-talk sequence, are disappointing. Train your stylus to start late and leave early.