Jimmy Buffett, "Buffet Hotel"

3.5

With the exception of acts like "Weird Al" Yankovic and AC/DC, there aren't too many talents that need to worry about recalibrating their sound less than Jimmy Buffett. True to form, his new album, "Buffet Hotel" (the title of which will ensure that the "one t/two t's" debate among copy editors will persevere until the end of time), is a breezy stroll through Buffett's usual stomping grounds. These include well-poured sunshine-filled escapism ("Summerzcool"), light ballads with Hawaiian hints ("Beautiful Swimmers"), a gently insistent carpe diem (Bruce Cockburn's "Life Short Call Now"), a nearly unbearably cheesy love note to his fans ("Big Top"), a tale of international adventure (the Mali-inspired title cut, featuring Toumani Diabate) and a snarky, vaguely political monologue on current events ("A Lot to Drink About"). "Buffet Hotel" might be less about the songs and more about generating a vibe. If you subscribe to it going in, you'll check out happy. -Jeff Vrabel