This is not just Mark Lanegan's finest solo album, it's his most beautifully evocative work to date.
As has been previously mentioned, there will always be a certain popular feeling summoned up by listening to Lanegan's whiskey-weary, "just-give-me-somewhere-to-sit-down-and-smoke" vocals, which could lend itself to an artist resting on his or her laurels and allowing themselves to become a one-trick-pony who's bound to sell, as is the case with such acts as Motorhead (these days).
As it stands, Mark's songcraft has developed leaps and bounds since his instrumentally-sparse debut "The Winding Sheet", while retaining its lyrical intensity. It is in essence the next logical step: there are some actual just heart-achingly beautiful arrangements displayed in songs such as 'Kingdoms of Rain': a funeral procession of a song, where the vocals are harmonised by an organ to incredible effect. 'Borracho' - literally, "drunk" in Spanish, builds up a storm of swirling, angular rhythm guitar until you DO feel drunk, and the desert really does turn to ocean over you, you can FEEL it. 'Carnival' is possibly my favourite song of all time, and not far behind is 'Sunrise': it will move you intensely to listen to this song when no one is up yet, you've poured a glass of wine for yourself and the most important thing in the world is how the light shining in from behind the blinds is falling across your face, and when the saxophone filters in, a moment of complete musical perfection is achieved.
Also, it is completely recommended that you purchase this if you've heard the Soulsaver's cover of 'Kingdoms of Rain' with Mark Lanegan on vocals. That, and this, is soul music at its best.