Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards
Tom Waits -- surprise -- has the most peculiar scrap heaps you'll ever wish to hear. The three CDs of Orphans collect batches of abandoned songs, cover tunes and songs that are written new, all grouped by style and theme. First disc "Brawlers" finds Waits bark-voiced and heavy-footed on rough-house blues and gutter-level rockabilly. "Bawlers" are sepia-toned laments, lullabies and rural ballads; on "Bastards," things just get weird. In all, more than three hours of Waits, at turns shaking and soothing with songs that "survived the flood" and were wiped of muck -- but not completely.