Originally headed for a safe career as an alt-country star, Neko Case has become her own category. Though still able to belt out a Loretta Lynn or Johnny Paycheck cover like nobodys business, she applies her booming voice to weirder pursuits on the enthralling and magical Fox Confessor. Cushioned by shimmering moonlit melodies that suggest a quietly ominous dream, Case unleashes an arresting stream of impressionistic lyrics, sketching the outlines of troubled lives instead of telling straight tales. From the girl with the parking lot eyes, to the obsessed lover whose nightgown sweeps the pavement, to a tearstained drive past flooded fields, her restless narratives conjure an eerie, heightened reality, as fresh meanings surface with each hearing. Case says she was partly inspired by ancient folktales, but the raw anxiety and desire coursing through these alluring songs deliver an immediate, electric jolt.