By Will Hermes
Updated May 08, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

On Jolie Holland’s 2002 demo, Catalpa, and 2004’s Escondida, the wandering American singer-songwriter was an original in search of something she hadn’t quite found yet. On Springtime Can Kill You she finds it. That exquisitely strange voice — part Billie Holiday, part tipsy gypsy in a Czech beer bar — becomes a garden of vinelike phrases and oozing vowels and birdlike whistles. And her band breathes along like a ventilator with brushed drums, pump organ, lap steel, and horns. Proof folk music shouldn’t just conjure the past, but also sit down and have a drink with it in the present.