There's no denying that Ryan Adams can write a helluva tune—when he puts his mind to it, that is. For too long, the musician was high on either drugs or his own hype, which helps to explain the wild inconsistency of his post-Gold output. (Not that it was for a lack of trying: He released eight albums in the interim, including three in 2005.) That all changed with last year's Easy Tiger, the postrehab, posthumility record that saw him settling into his current, satisfying groove. His new disc, Cardinology, out today, has more oomph than its low-key predecessor, but it's likewise tight—smooth, melodic country-rock.