For album number six, L.A.’s Eleni Mandell got her parts out of the way, recording her guitar and vocals, and then let producer Andy Kaulkin color in the sketches as he saw fit, with a bevy of guests, including X’s D.J. Bonebrake on vibes and noted guitar extraordinaire Nels Cline adding his odd touches (credits include Dobro, lap steel, banjo and “weird sounds”) alongside Mandell’s usual backing group. This intimate approach encouraged Mandell to sing at her softest and the quiet desperation yields a quiet carnival. “Wings In His Eyes” has a carousel’s gait while the instrumental tones are deep and warm. “Make-Out King” and the title track have spooky double-tracked vocals that recall the pensive, luminous drear of Cat Power. Mandell’s also a confessed Tom Waits fan and one hears in her torchiest material (“Moonglow, Lamp Low,” “Perfect Stranger”) romantic touches that befit an admirer of dark nights, while “Dear Friend” sways wistfully. With simple but never simplistic lyrics and gentle, uncomplicated tunes, Mandell never runs out of ways to convey beauty and sadness.