At last, a chance to experience Neko Case totally naked…more or less. Having ditched her omnipresent band, the Boyfriends, this time around, the vagabondish alt-country thrush pushes her voice to the fore more than on any of her previous releases, heightening both the power and poignancy of her stellar songs. Blacklisted is surprisingly traditional sounding, given Case's genre-bending tendencies of yore, but there are still plenty of elements of surprise, like the vibraphone and cool jazz organ that invest "Look for Me (I'll Be Around)" with a wonderfully torchy feel. Likewise, "Running Out of Fools," a keening ballad that's guaranteed to send a shiver up even the stiffest of spines, dips deep into the blues well that Bessie Smith excavated so many years ago. For most of the disc, however, Case stays rooted in the country -- not the Nashville stripe (or even the comparatively sophisticated Bakersfield variety), but in the sounds that wafted up from the Dust Bowl and the Appalachian coal country decades ago. Whether presented undiluted and simple (as on the longing "Tightly") or infused with modern-day complications (like the white-knuckled, steel-guitar laden "Things That Scare Me"), Case's songs prove that real passion need not be gussied up to be contagious.