Pretty Little Head Hungry Mouse Music ••• Sound ••••
When she debuted in 2004 with the double CD Get Away from Me, Nellie McKay seemed like some info-age Internet creation: piano playing that darted from ragtime to avant-garde, vocals that mashed pop, blues, and jazz, and speedracing lyrics that twisted Cole Porteresque quips into rapper's delights. After a messy falling out with her former label, Columbia, McKay has finally re-emerged via the indie route with her follow-up, recorded mostly in 2005 and again a double CD. And while it's more focused - with generally less hyperactive wordplay and a more poppy musical flow - she still hasn't formed artistically. With both the precociousness and the preciousness wearing off, a word to this still possibly Divine Miss M(c): Simplify.