STARSAILOR
Silence Is Easy (Capitol)

This UK band’s debut album, Love Is Here, made a big splash back in 2001. With this offering, the indie rockers build upon their strengths (including lead singer James Walsh’s lofty vocals) and come out strong on tracks like “Music Was Saved.” Silence then transitions perfectly through songs of love, cope, and hope on the standout track “Born Again,” which states, “When summer comes/Light my life/Snow will melt away.”

LORRIE MORGAN
Show Me How (Image Entertainment)

The 12th release from Nashville’s pure-country darling — she used to watch her father George perform at the Grand Ole Opry when she was a child — contains songs of real people living everyday lives. Topics on the 11 honest and open tracks include the life of a divorced mother of two and shedding bad habits like smoking, which, incidentally, Morgan gave up the day she recorded the tune.

ELBOW
Cast of Thousands (V2)

Make some room in your CD
collection for this Manchester, England-formed quintet’s second disc. With interspersed samples (barking dogs, an answering machine, what sounds like a kazoo) thrown into the mix, the follow-up to 2001’s Asleep in the Back expands on the smooth vocals, great grooves, and mellow mood that caught the attention of everyone on both sides of the Atlantic. Dare we say a Pink Floyd for the 21st century? We dare.
— JAMES E. MAYFIELD