The plot of the 1996 film, Nénette et Boni, from French screenwriter and director Claire Denis, involves the rather downhearted premise of a 14-year-old girl who is in serious need of an attitude adjustment; she's also pregnant and runs away from her boarding school only to end up at the door of her preoccupied brother, who is fixated on the baker's seductive wife. As if that convoluted scenario was not melancholy enough, the soundtrack to the film, the subject matter of which is quite befitting a sort of downcast pop sound, was appropriately turned over to eternal-depressives, Tindersticks. It was a perfect marriage. Of course, the soundtrack is not exactly a normal Tindersticks album; in some senses it is a radical departure. The obvious difference is that the album mostly lacks the bizarrely beautiful Leonard Cohen-on-valium croon of Stuart Staples (present only on the gorgeous "Petites Gouttes d'Eau"), and so some of their usual somber romanticism is inevitably lost. Also, not all of the individual pieces on the album are full-fledged songs, which is understandable given the album's primary responsibility as incidental music. Its tone is far less varied than normal, with some of the same instrumental themes and eerie piano chords reappearing throughout this release on various songs. It certainly lends consistency to the listening experience, but listeners also can't help but feel a sense of musical déjà vu at certain points along the journey. That doesn't keep Nénette et Boni from being entirely sensual and seductive, however, and in a stately, continental sort of way. It's a truly gorgeous piece of work, with the same lulling, shimmering, melancholy sheen that characterizes every Tindersticks album; together, the songs seem like a delusory, synesthetic oasis of sound. The music is absolutely sweeping at times, with string arrangements occasionally insinuating their way into a song almost as if from somewhere outside the piece. At other times, the music takes on a dark, insular complexion and vibe. Tindersticks can be simply creepy at times, as on "La Mort de Félix," but for the most part, their work here maintains enveloping, organic warmth, even when the sentiments are downhearted or chilling.