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Kevin Devine, ‘Put Your Ghost to Rest’ (Capitol)

Three-fifths of Americans don’t support the war in Iraq, but the pop landscape has been stunningly bereft of timely protest songs like the ones that emerged in the ’60s and ’70s. But until the draft gets reinstated, we have Devine’s “The Burning City Smoke,” a folksy barb at apathetic, aimless graduates whose “Ambien, Jameson’s, and blow” keep post-9/11 horrors off their radar. There are also some other types of bombs falling in Devine’s world, dropped by tough-luck lovers. And on “Just Stay,” a slow-building, Matthew Sweet–style paean to a “fickle friend,” he proves just as endearing lamenting romantic failures as he is lambasting political ones.

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