Reviews of the latest from Paul McCartney, Erasure, Merle Haggard, and more


Paul McCartney, Ocean’s Kingdom
Commissioned by the New York City Ballet, Macca’s orchestral work embroiders an otherworldly love story with worries about the ongoing depletion of aquatic species. Message? Solid. Music? A little watery. B-Mikael Wood

Mutemath, Odd Soul
The New Orleans natives — best known for the 2007 radio hit ”Typical” — spice their post-Radiohead space-rock sound with flavors of home: salty blues guitar on ”Odd Soul,” greasy jazz organ on ”Tell Your Heart Heads Up.” The result is like The Bends on Bourbon Street. B+MW

Merle Haggard, Working in Tennessee
At 74, the cranky country legend is pulling fewer punches than ever: Here he rails against government conspiracies (”What I Hate”) and the state of music (”Too Much Boogie Woogie”) in a voice that radiates so-what intransigence. A-MW

Erasure, Tomorrow’s World
With all the robo-assisted melodies now saturating Top 40 airwaves, it’s good to witness the return of the godfathers of synth-stretching Europop. On their 14th disc, the duo inject tracks like ”Then I Go Twisting” with way more humanity than the Pro Tools post-modernists who regularly steal their essence. B+Kyle Anderson

The Jim Jones Revue, Burning Your House Down
We have seen the future of rock & roll, and it has sideburns. Major sideburns. The U.K. fivesome’s relentless onslaught of cocksure menace and slavish guitars, led by the most commanding vocalist in many a moon, comes on like Elvis reincarnated with balls of fury. You’ve been warned. APaul McGuire

Bonnie ”Prince” Billy, Wolfroy Goes to Town
The wildly bearded Billy, a.k.a. Will Oldham, would make an excellent Whisker Wars contender, but instead he’s sticking to what he does best: gentle, pioneer-times folk and tales about God-fearing neighbors, cooking quail and dumplings, and settling down in the old, weird America. BMelissa Maerz