My Morning Jacket 

Z

Z is My Morning Jacket's blatant rejection of the Southern-rock tag -- like botched Pin the Tail on the Donkey attempts, these tunes are all over the place. "Wordless Chorus" sticks, with frontman Jim James' soaring falsetto morphing into drop-to-your-knees soul singing. "Off the Record," a buoyant Hawaii Five-O-biting reggae track, dissolves into a trippy coda showcasing MMJ's much-debated jam-band roots. And the loopy carnival sounds of "Into the Woods" showcase James' odd taste in lyrics -- A kitten on fire/A baby in a blender/Both sound as sweet as a night of surrender. The band's newfound keyboard obsession fails miserably in places (most notably the cheese-rocker "Anytime"), but ultimately, accept this refusal.

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