Richard Thompson, 'Dream Attic' (Shout! Factory)

Critical Mass
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by Joe Gross

Recording new material live in a series of concerts with his longtime road band is the best idea Thompson's had since he ditched soul-muting '90s producer Mitchell Froom. Boasting a guitar tone as recognizable as Dylan's voice, the 61-year-old legend now fuels his six-string histrionics with a dying-light rage ("Crimescene"). His songs are best when they stick to traditional topics -- the anti-banker satire "The Money Shuffle" could use less sax and politics, but the frantic murder ballad "Sidney Wells" scorches like an arsonist.

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