After starting off with some enticing programming and beats courtesy of British electro duo Fila Brazillia, The Twilight Singers quickly morphed into an Afghan Whigs-like big-rock project, presumably due to the fact that former Whigs singer Greg Dulli lost his day job following the release of Twilight As Played By The Twilight Singers. While that certainly isn’t a bad thing on paper, in practice, it’s translated into a handful of great songs surrounded by lots of simply serviceable music, propelled by Dulli’s devilish charm, but lacking the spark that the other Whigs brought to the proceedings. Not that the folks backing Dulli on Dynamite Steps are slouches—repeat offenders like fellow Gutter Twin Mark Lanegan and Ani DiFranco do their things well—and there’s no question that the album has plenty of high points. Dulli doesn’t dish the way he used to, but he can still be a provocative motherfucker, nonchalantly tossing out lines like “Spread your legs / insert your alibi” and filling his moody, driving songs with references to lying, stealing, and dying. But there’s no denying that it feels like something’s missing, as though he doesn’t always push himself the way he would have under the watchful eye of longtime bandmates. So while the big drama of the piano ballad “She Was Stolen,” the bigger drama of soaring rock exercises “On The Corner” and “Gunshots,” and the grand exit of the album’s title track stand as proof that Dulli still has it, Dynamite Steps as a whole doesn’t live up to its potential.