Cat Power is the greatest femme misérable in hipster rock. While other sad-slacker singers have waxed and waned changing course, as Beth Orton did, or dropping from sight like Shannon Wright she-cat Chan Marshall's moon has risen with each new release. Yet despite the blunt boast of its title, The Greatest
turns out to be Cat Power at her most conventional. Although the disc's framework is bluesy old-Memphis soul (recorded with several of Al Green's old hands), Marshall's performance is still so creaky and her songwriting so stark that the Memphis it most recalls is the city of seedy hotel rooms and empty streets featured in Jim Jarmusch's Mystery Train.
As for the title track, it turns out to be about a boxer's failed dream of glory. That's one clever kitty.