We gave it an A
In his 30 years of making music, Tom Waits has fashioned an evocatively scabby America, filled with hard-luck cases hollering blues and wheezing ballads. The three-CD set Orphans, built from new, old, and rare recordings, adds a truckload of characters to his dramatis personae. Some come via covers, including one Brecht song and two by the Ramones (!). But the bulk are Waits’, often dressed in scrap-yard percussion and sublime guitar noise, each — from hobo to suicide bomber — familiar, compelling, and tugging out empathy.