Label: Shout Factory
Don't tell fans of the Old 97's, but Rhett Miller's solo material is stronger than his work with the band. Miller offers up power-pop hooks, witty lyrics and a melancholy streak a mile wide. The tunes are tougher, dirtier, quieter and more despairing than before. "Caroline" and "Like Love" are undeniably catchy sing-alongs with bittersweet vibes. "Haphazardly" is the heart-on-sleeve ballad that Miller excels at. His unhip, unironic stance is part of what makes him unique -- he's like an Elvis Costello without the bile, an Aimee Mann who doesn't blame and a Josh Rouse who rocks hard.