When Steely Dan was last a major player in the pop marketplace, it was the summer of 1980. Two decades later the duo return where they left off with the release of "Two Against Nature." Trumpets, saxophones and trombones blaze away; Donald Fagen's voice is laced with self-pity and doubt; and Walter Becker's keen musicianship is underneath it all.
Some songs reveal only slight changes in their thinking. For instance, in the single "Cousin Dupree," the main character is an older guy sleeping on his aunt's couch and fantasizing about his young teen-age cousin. But other songs reflect a stark change from the past. Set against a rich melody, "Almost Gothic" is an exuberant love song in which the narrator says he spells love "L-U-V." Here's hoping we don't have to wait another 20 years before they "Do It Again."