Album: Lloyd Cole, Standards (Tapete Records)

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The Independent Culture

Here's a surprise. After a decade of fine, restrained albums that interrogated the indignities of mid-life malaise, the 52-year-old Cole kicks against the pricks of his advancing years.

Not for 20 years has he opened an album with as much pop-rock swagger. And so it struts on, his way with a lyric as seductive (if occasionally self-conscious) as ever. How many other songwriters facing the third age could conjure up their first flush with such style?