With his predilection for misfits and his flair for theatricality, Waits has crafted one of America’s most eccentric songbooks. His albums are carnival worlds, full of fringe characters and otherworldly sounds. Waits’ latest is no exception. “Hoist that Rag” is a demented rumba about high-sea mercenaries, while “Baby Gonna Leave Me” is a grunting, wheezing hurtin’ song. But the real masterpiece is “Day After Tomorrow,” where Waits’ genius turns a soldier’s humble wisdom into a poignant plea for peace.
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