Last Man on Earth

Wainwright, who turned 53 last year (according to the title track), uses this tuneful and artfully arranged album to continue working out his troubled family relationships ("Surviving Twin" is a bruta

Wainwright, who turned 53 last year (according to the title track), uses this tuneful and artfully arranged album to continue working out his troubled family relationships ("Surviving Twin" is a brutal peacemaking gesture to his deceased father), failed love affairs ("Living Alone"), faded friendships ("Out of Reach"), and intimations of his own mortality ("Graveyard"). The candid self-portraits, warts and all, further showcase the artist's ever-brilliant wit and sensitivity within a subtly effective production. Also, despite the predominantly dark lyrical turn, the disc is hardly without Wainwright's customary, if caustic, humor: He clearly relishes being the last man on earth, as it gives him a free pass at any woman left listening. So graveyard be damned, for there's plenty of life and musical relevance in this 53-year-old coot yet.—JB