As a rock star, Russell Crowe makes a great actor.

As a rock star, Russell Crowe makes a great actor. This album of so-so blues-rock and ballad material has received way more hype than it warrants—which isn't any fault of Crowe's, but still . . . The "gladiator" does dig in with the songwriting, but he's no Springsteen—or even Springsteen's second cousin. At the same time, his voice is noticeably weak and dry and not even distinctively unique, like Dylan's. Chrissie Hynde brings the goods on the duet "Never Be Alone Again," but the best track by far is the live cover of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues," on which both singer and band actually cut loose a bit. And that goes to show what you can do with good material. A decent pub band, for sure, but this gig will never pay Crowe's bills.—AZ