Will Oldham has always been the kind of songwriter to either inspire adulation or despair. Either one understands where he is coming from or you do not, and sometimes the obvious lack of any actual tune doesn't help. 'Hope', however, is where the prince actually became aquainted with Mother Tune. It begins with the Neil Young-ish 'Agnes...', which is refreshingly electric and over the next 5 songs only the cover of Cohen's Winter Lady is superfluous. It hardly needs mentioning that the lyrics are wonderful, but then they always are. Forget what the lo-fi elitists say: songs, melody, singing in some kind of tune.....music is all the better for it.