By Whitney Pastorek
Updated August 25, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT

This moody, recession-themed collection from Bingham — who won an Oscar this year for a song from Crazy Heart — is unlikely to boost anyone’s morale during our current downturn, but Junky Star might make some folks feel less alone. And whether backed by simple guitar or a full-band ramble, Bingham’s intricately detailed portraits of the wayward and lost are some of the best short stories you’ll hear all year. A?

See all of this week’s reviews