Steely Dan may have taken a 20-year record break between the release of Gaucho and 2000’s Grammy-winning Two Against Nature, but it’s clear that the group’s creative juices still flow. In Everything Must Go, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen’s ninth studio release, the duo returns to the jazzy material fans love, plus shakes it up with Becker taking over lead vocals on “Slang of Ages,” a first for the band, which continues to reel in the years.
TRAIN My Private Nation (Aware/Columbia)
It’s been two years since this Bay Area quartet became globally known after the smash-hit album (and Grammy-winning single) Drops of Jupiter. Led once again by chief engineer Pat Monahan’s powerful vocal range, Train’s third studio release keeps up the pace and sends the tight, hard-working band farther down the right track.
ANNIE LENNOX Bare (J Records)
On her third solo release, a follow-up to 1995’s Medusa, the former Eurythmic shows off her pipes on 11 brand-new, self-written tracks. Without a cover song in sight, Lennox moves freely through the tunes and doesn’t disappoint on many a high and low note.
— JAMES E. MAYFIELD