Orphans (3 CD set)
Tom Waits is a true modern musical legend, and when the record company mentioned a triple CD, it was expected that this would be a kind of career retrospective. However, Orphans truly spoils us, with 30 new songs including his own versions of tracks previously given out to other artists, and covers of artists from The Ramones to Leadbelly. The 3 CDs are split into his grittier, bluesier more upbeat music (Brawlers), his balladry and waltz-like music (Bawlers), and the third an amazing collection of all kinds of odds-and-sods, up to and including his version of Heigh Ho from Snow White.
Waits is often called enigmatic for his refusal to follow any kind of prescribed pattern or fit into any pigeonhole, but the music on display underpins any call for the man to be labelled simply as a genius. The breadth is as astonishing as the depth of quality. This is evidence, if it were ever needed, that Waits is an artist all right-thinking adults should spend their time acquiring as a taste.