Rebounding from the mistakes of the cluttered, Phil Spector-produced Death of a Ladies’ Man, Leonard Cohen has returned to the practice of letting his lyrics dominate center stage. That’s particularly fortunate on the new Recent Songs because his pensive, introspective latest songs rank among the best he has ever written. At the same time, moreover, he has progressed immeasurably in terms of finding musical backdrops that complement and intensify the lyrics without getting in their way. If you’re looking for bouncy, upbeat tunes to raise the dead at your next party, you should definitely look elsewhere. But if you’re ready for haunting music, an enveloping romantic ambiance, and demanding lyrics that pay back your efforts, you’ll find just what you need right here.