Richard Thompson

Consistency is considered a virtue—but for Richard Thompson, it's been a drawback too. He was first championed during the late '60s for his contributions to Fairport Convention, among the most interesting English folk-rock groups of the era, and he saw his star rise again in the '80s thanks to Shoot Out the Lights, a beyond-brilliant conclusion to his collaboration with then-wife Linda Thompson. However, he's been largely taken for granted in recent years, despite—or perhaps because of—his prolific output (he's issued at least 18 albums since 1988) and damnable steadiness (none of the platters has been less than worthy). Sweet Warrior, a new Shout Factory release, is unlikely to alter this situation. Although the CD is packed with mesmerizing guitar textures, distinctively gruff vocalizing and solid compositions exemplified by "Dad's Gonna Kill Me," a seething indictment of the Iraq War, it emerges as a reliable demonstration of his talent, not a groundbreaking effort sure to broaden his appeal. For Thompson, keeping up the good work still hasn't paid off.