It now appears that vocalist Madeleine Peyroux hit the scene prematurely.

It now appears that vocalist Madeleine Peyroux hit the scene prematurely. Her 1996 debut, "Dreamland," showcased an artist whose torchy, Billie Holiday-inflected chops didn't quite connect with the audience. But her time may have arrived, for "Careless Love" finds her addressing those who have clasped Norah Jones to their hearts—to the extent that she has co-authored a song (the swinging "Don't Wait Too Long") with one of Jones' co-writers, Jesse Harris. Backed by a top-flight band that includes guitarist Dean Parks and jazz keyboardist Larry Goldings, Peyroux essays a variety of well-selected material by Leonard Cohen, Hank Williams, Bob Dylan and Elliott Smith, while reaching back for such chestnuts as the title cut and crooner Gene Austin's '20s hit "Lonesome Road." Her cool, velvety style should easily find a home with the same listeners who have made Jones a commercial monster.—CM