In the press release that accompanies Neko Case's 2004 live album, The Tigers Have Spoken, the singer (and her record company) insist quite strongly that this isn't meant to be a stopgap release on the way to her next studio project. To be blunt, Case protests a bit much on this issue -- an album featuring two re-recorded originals and five covers out of 11 tracks is carrying an awful lot of padding for something intended to be a proper "new" release. But if The Tigers Have Spoken is really intended to keep fans occupied until Case finishes her next project, she thankfully hasn't abandoned her standards of quality control along the way, and delivers some splendid music on this disc.
In lieu of a new studio album (there should be one in 2005), iron-lunged alt-country artist Case has assembled this live album, recorded earlier this year in Chicago and Toronto. It's a mix of new songs and covers but, despite the skilful assistance of the Sadies and the Pinetops, it never sounds like much more than a bar band playing songs for friends. Sound quality is distant and echoey, and the songs seem picked at random.