American Doll Posse

Of the twenty-three tracks on her ninth studio album, Tori Amos only takes credit for singing five of them. The others, liner notes indicate, are vocalized by alternate Amoses named Clyde, Isabel, Santa and Pip — four mythical beauties, each with her own blog! — intended to represent different parts of the female psyche. With the exception of "Big Wheel," where Amos loses points for proclaiming herself a MILF, she saves American Doll Posse's best material for her own damn self: the arena-rock ballad "Digital Ghost," the chilly "Father's Son," which keeps all but Amos' fairy-tale croon and agile piano-playing buried low in the mix, and "Code Red," whose gothic stomp is classic Tori. Glam rave-ups like "You Can Bring Your Dog," snowflake-perfect piano ballads elaborated with strings ("Girl Disappearing") and even missteps like the Ashlee Simpson-meets-Mr. Bungle rocker "Teenage Hustling" live harmoniously amid the more typically Tori tunes. In typical Tori fashion, there's way too much conceptual malarkey surrounding the songs, but if you can ignore her fake posse, you'll find this is Amos' best album in many years.