About a decade ago, genre-hopper extraordinaire Nick Lowe settled on a single sound, and embarked on a string of intermittently released records that showcase him as a tranquil, soulful eminence-gris, presiding over spare romantic ballads. Superficially, At My Age doesn't differ a whit from Dig My Mood or The Convincer, though it's more generally upbeat. The album opens with "A Better Man" and closes with "Feel Again," both of which set earnest promises to tasteful countrypolitan arrangements. In between, Lowe drifts easily from dreamy pop ballads to restrained R&B, in which not a note or line feels out of place.

Some veteran British rock personalities lose something essential when they soften up—it's been the persistent curse of Van Morrison's career—but Lowe retains a genteel wit that makes his latter-day albums thoroughly engaging. There's a real person writing and singing these songs, with a lifetime's worth of joys and disappointments, as well as the wisdom to keep it all in proper balance.

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