Produced by Jon Brion (who's worked with Macy Gray, Elliott Smith, Aimee Mann and Fiona Apple, among many others), the disc is full of the clever quips ("Wrapped up in each other/Makin' lovin' out of nothin' like the Air Suppliers said," from "Hover") and reading-is-fundamental allusions (he gives a shout-out to Don DeLillo's Underworld on "World Inside the World") that have always been there in Miller's songs. Miller does more of the work than Brion, whose vaunted studio skills only aggressively surface on "Four-Eyed Girl" (which may be the best song here) and the album-closing "Terrible Vision." The latter tune, especially, is something that probably wouldn't have worked on a 97's disc, what with its backup chorus and trash-can percussion. The rest of The Instigator, however, only brings up one question: It's a good solo effort, but could it have been a great Old 97's album? I'll expect your papers on my desk in the morning.