With her blonde hair and icy, brittle words, Aimee Mann is like Janeane Garofalo disguised as Uma Thurman. Her effortlessly piercing, seen-it-all delivery could convey sarcasm or pain. Despite her cotton-candy-haired new-wave beginnings in the '80s band Til Tuesday, Mann has the introspection of a coffeehouse poet without the wimp factor. Backing her otherworldly vocals with muscular electric guitars and spare keyboards, she's a Jewel in the rough. "All the perfect drugs/ And superheroes/ Wouldn't be enough/ To bring me up to zero," she sings on one track; on another, "Hate the sinner but love the sin/ Let me be your heroin."
Continuing on the odd comeback path that began with the 1999 soundtrack to Magnolia, for which she wrote and performed nine songs of exceptional grace, Mann is releasing this CD on her own label; don't let its hypelessness make you miss it.