Fiddler fatale Alison Krauss doesn’t have a rock bone in her body, and that’s just fine. She’s all about salve, even when she’s licking her own wounds. New Favorite — the latest from Krauss and her band, Union Station (out Aug. 14) — opens with ”Let Me Touch You for Awhile,” in which the singer eases the pain of a tortured stranger she finds drowning in whiskey, appearing to him like some kind of sexual Florence Nightingale. She’s certainly not all sunshine: ”Take Me for Longing” is a demand to be desired as an objet de passion and not just a good girl, and ”Daylight” makes a great, harmonically buoyant case that living in illumination is scarier than in the dark.
Even exploring the underworld, though, Krauss is a sweet-voiced musical seraph. Occasional lead vocals from Dan Tyminski (who dubbed George Clooney in ”O Brother, Where Art Thou?”) provide a rougher hewn link to bluegrass’ Depression era roots. But Krauss’ dominant balladry sails on a brand of depression that’s altogether timeless. By the time she almost whispers through the title lament, written for her by Gillian Welch, the intimacy is almost as unsettling as it is pretty.