Apparently no one showed Lindsey Buckingham the script, the one that almost all rock stars from past eras seem to follow: 1) Get tired and bitter. 2) Try to keep up with current trends, then ape the sounds that first brought fame, then turn out indistinguishable albums as excuses for tours where fans wait for the oldies. Instead, after a long break between solo projects punctuated by Fleetwood Mac reunions, Buckingham has spent the back half of this decade releasing albums charged with young-buck energy and steered by veteran assurance.

Gift Of Screws doesn't pack the shock of Buckingham's 2006 album Under The Skin, if only because it lacks that album's sustained commitment to spare, hushed sounds. Instead, much of Gift features fleshed-out songs—John McVie and Mick Fleetwood join Buckingham on a few tracks—but the studio wizardry Buckingham has developed since Tusk has been honed to a fine point. The cascading of guitars and multi-tracked vocals are here not because they can be, but because they need to be to serve Buckingham's reflective, sometimes blazing autumnal rock. It's a delicately crafted album that alternately rages against the dying of the light and sounds resigned to it, even if Buckingham's particular light sounds in no danger of burning out soon.