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Neko Case

The Tigers Have Spoken (Anti/Epitaph)

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This isn't a traditional live album. It isn't ignited with bombastic introduction or a clamorous crowd. It's just Case, her full-throated roar and some crisp, jangly riffs in what seems more like a covert practice session than a show taped in front of a live audience. Not that it's sedate. Case rips through turbo-charged twang-bangers, letting fiddles fly and drums stomp on tracks such as "The Train From Kansas City." And though she employs a solid backing band, Case produces all the ballad heat with her thick, confident wail. But her engaging stage presence is lost in the shuffle of songs cobbled from different shows. Things would be much more coherent and captivating if the album documented a single concert. The prevalence of covers also suggests that Tigers, despite its considerable charm, is wearing the stripes of a scattershot stopgap.

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