Music: The Big To-Do (Drive-By Truckers)

Few bands even make it to their 10th album, let alone continue to make good music that long. Remarkably, The Big To-Do finds Drive-By Truckers still in peak form. The sextet’s fierce Southern rock, which combines Lynyrd Skynyrd’s sting with the grace of Booker T. & the MGs, has the edge of a newly sharpened knife. Woeful-sounding front man Patterson Hood crafts vivid vignettes of downtrodden characters as he examines domestic violence (“Drag the Lake Charlie”), alcoholism (“The Fourth Night of My Drinking”), and getting laid off (“This Fucking Job”). With an unsentimental yet sympathetic touch, he balances tragedy and dark comedy with finesse.