Faithfull's collaboration with Albarn, "Last Song," is lush and creepy, yet her pairings with Harvey and Cave linger longest. Had Harvey sung "The Mystery of Love," which she wrote, she probably would have torn into the tune with trademark ferocity. Instead, Faithfull oozes with a weary vulnerability that's more subtle but just as memorable. "There Is a Ghost," meanwhile, pits Faithfull's evocative words against Cave-penned music that suggests Kurt Weill in Hell.
Poison doesn't go down smoothly, and that's appropriate. The album finds beauty in the flaws most performers prefer to hide.