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The Information on: Tom Waits' 'Mule Variations'

What Is It?

The first album in seven years from the man whose voice is not so much gravelly as pieced together from chunks of industrial rubble. Earlier work - albums like Frank's Wild Years and Swordfishtrombones - changed the musical landscape. This follows close on the heels of an even rarer venture into vinyl by long-time buddy Chuck E Weiss.

Where's He Coming From?

Almost everywhere, as usual. There are ballads, some rootsy stuff and the spoken-with-odd-noises numbers, telling the stories of people whose luck just never seems to be in. In other words, nothing more than long- term Waits devotees would reasonably expect.

What They Say About It

"Another landmark album from one of modern music's most valuable talents," Andy Gill, The Independent.

"This is the first Tom Waits album that lives up to your expectations and nothing else... it's wonderful, but somehow, at least to this Waits worshipper, the details don't get under your skin," Garry Mulholland, Time Out.

"Great by most people's standards. It starts with the sound of the artist banging a chest of drawers in a Mexican hotel room, and signs off with a spiritual that outclasses Blur's 'Tender' in every way. The interim is batty, often quite fabulously so," Stuart Bailie, NME.

Where To Get It

Mule Variations is out now on Epitaph Records.