In his partnership with Tweedy, Bennett had what seemed to be an ideal creative relationship, if not an ideal working one, for as sonically inventive as Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is, it's a record that feels worth the trouble it went through primarily for Tweedy's songs, how deftly he can move from the effortless, throwaway glee of "Heavy Metal Drummer" to recondite allusions to autumn and burned-up American flags. In those songs Bennett had a canvas as expansive as any he could've liked, room to work similar to the Rufus Wainwright and Fiona Apple albums L.A. studio guru Jon Brion has produced in his singular style. Bennett and Burch, like Brion, simply don't muster that dynamism on their record, even if they used so many instruments they admit to not remembering them all in the liner notes. Still, it does feel good to have mavericks at alt-country's edges, pushing the form beyond its titanic historical antecedents and into some new territory where sound qua sound signifies something besides the stomping of the barbarians at the gate. Here's to the emperor finding new clothes and vice versa.