This is Tom Waits' first album, he was 24 when he wrote it and I am at a loss to come up with many other artists (Dylan?) who have expressed themselves with such a mature voice at such a young age.
The album is beautiful from start to finish. It is melodic - full of haunting strings and piano chords. It is sentimental without being saccharine - perhaps it is the smokey bourbon voice which does it.
Standouts for me are Ol'55, Martha ("I remember quiet evenings trembling close to you" - swoon, swoon!) and Grapefruit Moon.
The outstanding thing which he achieves though is putting together a collective of songs which are so evocative. Whilst Waits has stood the test of time and experimentation this is something which has stayed with him throughout his career and can be seen as much on his most recent offering, 'Real Gone' as it can be on this.
This is the best place to start if you plan to get into Tom Waits as it is his first and probably his most accessible. It leads you quite neatly to 1974's 'The Heart of Saturday Night' where his ability as a storyteller becomes more accomplished.
Listen to the lyrics, listen to the music, listen to it again and again. Tom Waits is an absolute genius.