Loudon Wainwright III's latest album is a long joke, full of wry commentary on weighty topics like mortality and lonesomeness. It opens with the rousing "Brand New Dance," whose curmudgeonly narrator "look[s] into the abyss," and closes with "Last Day of the Year," which starts hopeful, then goes sour. Even straightforward cuts rely on small twists: "I Knew Your Mother" tells the story of an absent lover to the son they had together. Throughout, the 67-year-old modernizes blues and Americana signifiers: "They cook a little meth in Harlan County," he sings with a troubadour's weariness. Listen for the wink.