By Ben Spier
Updated January 19, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST

Stricken by cancer, the country-psych-pop maverick who penned 1966’s ”These Boots Are Made for Walkin”’ has said Cake or Death is his last album. If so, it’s a fiery exit. Dry-aged but strong, Lee Hazlewood’s baritone rings out on topical songs like ”Baghdad Knights,” and his lyrics brim with jagged one-liners (”You’ll think she’s an altar/You’ll get down on your knees,” he deadpans in ”Sacrifice”). Wit gives way to poetry, though, on the lush ”T.O.M. (The Old Man),” a meditation on mortality that resonates in the heart.