Randy Newman's shock-and-aw-shucks wit is so joyfully scathing at times on "Harps and Angels" that it's hard to believe it's been nine years since his last album of new material.

Randy Newman's shock-and-aw-shucks wit is so joyfully scathing at times on "Harps and Angels" that it's hard to believe it's been nine years since his last album of new material.

The sarcastic advice to undocumented immigrants, "Laugh and Be Happy," is cleverly camouflaged by a giddy orchestra arrangement right out of Carl Stalling's Warner Bros. cartoon playbook. "Korean Parents" also features the big orchestra and a comic critique of public education and family responsibility in the Wii era.

On "A Few Words in Defense of Our Country," Newman assays the current leaders in his laconic, bluesy drawl, "While they're the worst that we've had/Are hardly the worst this poor world has seen."

Amid the satirical splendor and winning New Orleans piano and Dixieland swing are moments of poignancy, among them two love songs, "Losing You" and "Feels Like Home," that should keep accruing royalties from covers long after the sun sets on our empire.

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