But this godfather of Anglofolk – and superb electric guitarist – pulled it off in some dyspeptic and angry songs, and that energy spills over onto this album in the taut Stuck on a Treadmill (the indignity of factory life), the suspicions of infidelity on Good Things Happen to Bad People, and the early Costello-like pop-rock of Straight and Narrow.
He also delivers working class Anglofolk-rock (Stony Ground) and British blues (Sally B) but finds a place for reflection (the marriage splitting up on Another Small Thing).
Thompson's forte is the slightly spiteful song (they're here), so it's a relief the folksy closer Saving the Good Stuff For You is a man who has finally found love to redeem his mis-spent life.
This album – produced by Buddy Miller, Alison Krauss on The Snow Goose, early copies with an excellent bonus disc – is Thompson's 20th-something album under his own name so you've either got him by now, or haven't.
Fans will like this although it breaks no new ground (unlike Dream Attic), others will doubtless shrug.
Like the sound of this? Then check out this.
By Graham Reid, posted