Live at St. Ann's Warehouse
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Aimee Mann's music comes in only two shades dark and darker. Nonetheless, Mann has something worthwhile to offer, even if her Beatles-inspired songwriting has little variation in tone. This live CD/DVD combo unveils two songs from her forthcoming King of the Jailhouse album, neither of which is of any great consequence. But updated versions of "Calling It Quits," "Long Shot" and "4th of July" are gratifying, especially if you haven't heard their studio counterparts recently. Her performance of "Wise Up," a portrait of despair from the Magnolia soundtrack, is extraordinarily moving in this live setting, while "Pavlov's Bell" barely misses being the set's most heated moment, derailed only by the harmonies on the chorus falling flat. As for the DVD, Mann and her four-piece band just aren't all that visually intriguing, but the video does contain a particularly spirited version of "Invisible Ink" unavailable on the audio CD.