Though challengers have dared to assault his throne, none can usurp him.
His latest release, Glitter and Doom, exhibits exactly why Waits rules supreme, showing the man at his esoteric best. Painting accurate portraits of the various phases in his long and storied career — Billy Joel-wannabe troubadour, barking ringmaster of forgotten freak shows, lewd junkyard dog, and bitter old codger. Time has not dulled his edge but honed it into something rusty and dangerous. On highlights like “Goin’ Out West,” Waits growls with his characteristically twisted magnetism, occasionally indulging in the Cookie Monster caricature he’s always lirted with becoming. The second disc presents 35 minutes of stage banter, and it’s still more addictive than most artists’ studio albums. Hail to the king, baby.