Capitol holds in its vault many of the definitive torch songs in recorded history, and has issued them many times in many forms. Torch Songs, a two-disc standards collection released in 2004, unfortunately and rather surprisingly, doesn't include many of the best. It does, however, illustrate that the label has some distance to travel before exhausting its supply of excellent material. It also doesn't plumb the depths of lovelorn depression quite like Capitol's previous torch collection, 2003's Lady Sings the Blues (also a double disc with many of the same singers), but it's a more engaging collection for it. On most of these performances, the person whom the singer is torching for is simply absent, not fled (so to be pedantic, they're ballads rather than torch songs). Semantics aside, the performers are all genre-defining and the songs are strong as well, evidenced by Dinah Washington's "These Foolish Things," Etta James' "The Very Thought of You," Norah Jones' "The Nearness of You," and Peggy Lee's "I Wanna Be Around." Ella Fitzgerald, licensed from Verve especially for this collection, cries her heart-rending performance of "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye," and delivers one of the most pleasurable moments in popular song with her masterful switch in key on Cole Porter's line "How strange the change, from major to minor." Torch Songs does include plenty of true heartache, most of them ironically delivered by stronger vocalists such as Anita O'Day ("Angel Eyes"), Rosemary Clooney ("Good Morning Heartache"), and Fitzgerald again ("Love for Sale"). Even singers of the second rank are represented with excellent songs -- Nancy Wilson, Dakota Staton, Dianne Reeves, and Kay Starr, the latter one of Capitol's most underrated jazz singers.