It's so easy to like a band that has lyrics like "Why does everybody always act so tough/When all anybody wants is to find a friend." Crooked Fingers is tender and affable, and there is zero shame in

It's so easy to like a band that has lyrics like "Why does everybody always act so tough/When all anybody wants is to find a friend." Crooked Fingers is tender and affable, and there is zero shame in their latest effort, "Dignity and Shame." Former Archers of Loaf frontman Eric Bachmann is four albums into his Crooked career, and this new one is his best. His voice has thankfully improved from record to record; like grain alcohol, it's gruff and eye-opening, well-suited for Crooked Fingers' pop-folk tangents. Filling in the storied narratives are fanfares of trumpet, lap steel and upright bass. No song on "Dignity and Shame" is disposable. Much of them are challenging, and all of them have soul.—KH