If between OCD and genius lie the White Stripes, Icky Thump tilts toward Nobel Prize territory. Working within strict limitations is Jack (and Meg) White's hallmark; from the candy-cane suits to their studio-vérité work ethic, the duo are a blues-rock answer to a Dogma 95 film. Take 2005's Get Behind Me Satan, which aimed to recast their frantic guitar sound with marimba and piano. On their latest, however, Jack's six-strings come roaring back, along with splashier production values, more ambitious arrangements, and some of their most affecting songs yet. The topical title track weighs in on immigration between scabrous blasts of feedback-loaded guitar and Eastern-styled Univox synth: "White Americans, what, nothing better to do? Why don't you kick yourself out, you're an immigrant too." The duo do a 180, following with a country-rocking, Hammond-driven "You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do What You're Told)," which could have been a castoff from Jack's sessions with Loretta Lynn for Van Lear Rose. In between are all manner of sonic deployment: mandolins, bagpipes, and, memorably, trumpets on "Conquest" (Jack heard it on a Patti Page record). Combined with acoustic fare like "Effect and Cause" and the mandolin-driven "Prickly Thorn, but Sweetly Worn" Icky Thump's expansive mood is reminiscent of Exile on Main Street, with odes to poverty, sneering misanthropy, and the blues intact. In short, after a year off with The Raconteurs, Jack White has returned reenergized. Meg, his mysterious muse, provides the primal rumpus. And after ten years, the White Stripes are just getting better.