Mary Chapin Carpenter

A Place in the World

  • Columbia

If following up a commercial and critical breakthrough album like Stones in the Road was daunting, it doesn't show on this collection of 12 appealing and skillful songs. Whether it's the tortured soul explored in “I Can See It Now” or the new love unfolding in “I Want to Be Your Girlfriend,” Carpenter turns her attention to matters of the heart. An even blend of up-tempo rockers and thoughtful ballads whose evocative lyrics are matched by stellar musicianship and vocals, Carpenter's sixth album is a triumph. She's more than found her place; she's decorating ours.

— John Hassan