1986's Home of the Brave is the soundtrack to a film consisting of live pieces debuted during Laurie Anderson's first world tour, promoting 1984's Mister Heartbreak. Only one song from that album, a radically reworked version of the William S. Burroughs cameo "Sharkey's Night," appears here; the rest of the album is something of a return to the performance art basis of Anderson's earlier work like Big Science and United States I-IV. As a result, Home of the Brave has an oddly reheated quality to it, as if Anderson is merely going through the motions of what had gone before while incorporating snatches of the new, more musical direction she had begun exploring with Mister Heartbreak. (Even the title is a self-conscious echo of United States I-IV.) There are some successes here -- "Language Is a Virus" is probably the closest Anderson ever came to a real rock song, and it was a minor dancefloor and college radio hit -- but the opening "Smoke Rings" goes on too long with too little and some of the shorter pieces sound half-formed. The centerpiece track, "Talk Normal," is a hoot and has a catchy tune reminiscent of the Talking Heads' most African-influenced moments, but the ending, in which Anderson recounts an incident where she was walking down the street in her neighborhood and overheard two women dismissing her as "another one of those Laurie Anderson clones" as she passed, shows the problem with Home of the Brave: Anderson had become far too self-conscious. It wasn't surprising that Anderson took a long break after this release to reassess her place in both music and art.