If you're looking to conjure the sound of a dark, moonless night of the soul, Mark Lanegan has reliably been your go-to guy since the early '90s, calling up all manner of sorrow and emotional wreckage with his deep, smoky vocals and patient, evocative phrasing. Multi-instrumentalist Duke Garwood has shown a similar talent for taking the blues to a forbidding place on his solo albums, and it makes perfect sense that he and Lanegan collaborated, with Garwood contributing to several Mark Lanegan Band albums and getting co-star billing on 2013's Black Pudding. Lanegan and Garwood have teamed up again for the 2018 album With Animals, and in many ways it's just what you would expect -- Lanegan croons softly but with force as Garwood creates a musical backdrop that embodies the sound of a sleepless night of loneliness and regret. But if With Animals plays to the well-documented strengths of both artists, it also captures them in outstanding form, with each bringing out the best in the other. Lanegan is one of the few men who can sing "I swear that I love you" and make it seem horribly ominous, but his sense of the dynamics of these songs is keen, and his delivery is subtle but artful, playing with the emotions of these songs with a master's touch. And Garwood's music is an ideal complement to Lanegan's vocal style. Built from spare, echo-laden guitar patterns, drum loops, and ghostly electronic washes, the melodies are haunting but light as air, floating like smoke rings around Lanegan's voice, and the open spaces help to bring out the details in both the lyrics and the melodies. With Animals is the work of two men with great talent embracing what they do best, and with their skills elevating their work to a new level; this is collaboration between musical peers at its best.