Duncan Sheik

Sheik hasn't abandoned the crafted folk-pop sound of his '96 debut; he's added more atmospheric lushness. On "A Body Goes Down," a poignant tribute to the late Jeff Buckley, Middle Eastern strings keen mournfully. When Sheik sings "I had a love of such beauty," violins shudder with regret. This time, though, the focus is less "Barely Breathing" heartbreak, more social critique. Despite some overworked, smarty-pants lyrics, it's a lovely mesh of sense and sonics.   Grade:  B+   -- Beth Johnson