As a songwriter, Aimee Mann is remarkably consistent. Her five previous solo albums are monuments to technically proficient songcraft. But the downside of consistency is predictability. Even those of us with affection for Mann's music might grudgingly admit that, though she doesn't disappoint, she rarely surprises either.
Arguably, Aimee Mann hasn't released a simple collection of songs since her 1999 breakthrough with the Magnolia soundtrack and its cousin, Bachelor No. 2. Her releases since then have been prominent and respected, yet they played as explorations, with 2003's Lost in Space floating in the ether and 2006's The Forgotten Arm qualifying as an outright concept album.