After releasing recordings primarily of acoustic guitar and voice, Mike Doughty teamed up with Semisonic’s Dan Wilson to record an album that gave his songs a commercial sheen and the chance to land on "alternative" radio stations, or whatever outlets were playing poppy, literate music in 2005. Signing to Dave Matthews’ ATO Records gave Doughty further visibility, though it’d be interesting to hear what fans of Matthews’ collegiate jam rock thought of songs with such a deep sarcastic streak. “Busting Up a Starbucks” has fun with its cultural references to Dawson’s Creek star James Van Der Beek and Sister, Sister’s Tia and Tamera Mowry. But there’s also an aching soul underneath the smart remarks, as evidenced by the poignancy of “White Lexus” and “American Car.” “Sunken-Eyed Girl” captures further snapshots of NYC life and the torments that a lonely city person confronts daily, all to a snapping beat. “Looking at the World from the Bottom of a Well” has the sound of a hit single that never was. “Grey Ghost” is Doughty’s reaction to his friend Jeff Buckley’s death.