With the Screaming Trees
, Mark Lanegan
is part of a dysfunctional family that can only pull its act together once in a while. As he's struggling to make the group work, he's taken away from his solo career, which has proven to be far more consistent than his band's. Scraps at Midnight
's third solo effort (one arrives every four years or so), follows a similar path as his first two albums -- it's a haunted, low-key affair steeped in blues, folk and country. The rustic setting allows Lanegan
to spin some captivating tales, all delivered in his powerful, throaty growl. Although it's similar to its predecessor, Scraps at Midnight
is arguably his most accomplished -- it might just miss matching the excellence of Whiskey for the Holy Ghost
, but with songs as uniformly strong and performances as passionate as these, it comes damn close.