Danny Clinch
Kyle Anderson
October 25, 2011 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Bad As Me

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Tom Waits
music label
2077
genre
Rock

We gave it an A-

Without abandoning his classic formula — junkyard percussion, loose-limbed blues licks, and that unmistakable mouth-of-hell baritone — Waits keeps pulling switcheroos out of his porkpie hat on his 20th album. Keith Richards drops in some rambling six-string on ”Chicago,” and few ballads weep as profoundly as ”Pay Me.” One thing you can’t fake: Waits’ personal universe, full of carnies, dust, tears, whiskey, and hope. And yes, a whole lot of growling. A-

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