Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons, ‘Death Won’t Send a Letter’ (Black Seal)

Wisconsin’s Cory Chisel furrows his brow and broods over the mysteries of love, death, and other eternally perplexing topics in a soulful croon on this sporadically gripping debut album. Aided by members of My Morning Jacket and the Raconteurs (including Brendan Benson, who coproduced some tracks), he fares best when the players kick into anthem mode, adding an ecstatic edge to “Longer Time at Sea” and “Curious Thing.” But acoustic ballads “Mockingbird” and “Calm Down” are overly somber and a bit dull, suggesting Chisel’s songwriting might benefit from some antidepressants.

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