What to do after finishing your first opera and a 19-disc anthology of your life's work? If you're Rufus Wainwright, you make the L.A.-style Great American Pop Album your late mom, singer-songwriter Kate McGarrigle, never felt like making in the 1970s. His formal mastery is so complete it's hilarious, like Albert Pujols playing stickball. But thanks in part to retro-modern producer Mark Ronson, it never feels too arch. "Barbara" (featuring Wilco guitarist Nels Cline) is an ace take on Michael McDonald yacht-rock fluff, while the title track disses mainstream "suckers" in lush harmony over a Steely Dan-ish strut. Hey: If you got it, brother, flaunt it.
Listen to "Out of the Game":
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