Sony - 2004 – 49 minutes
Now 70, Leonard Cohen is five years into what most call retirement. He has kept busy though, and 2001's 'Ten New Songs' proved the pensioner hadn't lost any of his lyrical sharpness, wit and precision.
Three years on, and although his words can still create a mesmerising bubble, this time the wrinkles are plain to see. 'Dear Heather' is a mixture of singing and spoken word, and on it Cohen's gravelly rasp is the aural equivalent of a flickering, dying candle. This in itself is not a problem, but when the candle is no longer providing any solace, the darkness hits harder.
The problem is largely the tunes. There aren't any. Even with guest vocalists Sharon Robinson and Anjani Thomas, most of these songs are lifeless affairs, limping for the want of a producer with a pulse. Worst of the bunch are 'Morning Glory' and the title track, the former stuffed with supermarket keyboards, the latter with childish repetition.
It's not all bad – 'The Letters' has Cohen reflecting on a correspondence of the past, 'There For You' sees him defiant on love – but they are simply bright embers in a fading fire.
If form is temporary and class is permanent, then Leonard Cohen has nothing left to prove, and hasn't had for many years now. But this adds little to his legacy. He has said it all before, and he's said it better than this.
Tracklisting: Go No More A-Roving – Because Of – The Letters – Undertow – Morning Glory – On That Day – Villanelle For Our Time – There For You – Dear Heather – Nightingale – To A Teacher – The Faith – Live Track: Tennessee Waltz