Cowboy Junkies At the End of Paths Taken (Cooking Vinyl) Nearly two decades after this Canadian folk rock outfit blew away many a listener with the adroit compositions of this sibling-led foursome in The Trinity Sessions, this their 11th cut feels like something of a masterwork. The same cannot be said of the band's sometimes morose and occasionally insipid meanderings in some of the previous albums. What a let-down, then, that Brand New World, the closest to these unimpressive forays, is chosen to open the album. Skip it and jump into Still Lost's cool acoustic-guitar driven lament, which rings in familiar Junkies polished folk, led by Margo Timmins' honeyed vocals. Her full range - stretching from growl to screamed melody, via a rounded sultry middle ground - is best exposed in skewed slow-burn nod-along My Little Basquiat, which incorporates short double bass and angry electric guitar interludes. On Cutting Board Blues, Michael Timmins takes the guitar to further levels of distortion, in short bursts, that interrupt the signature bluesy folk sound. One more departure from the latter is the orchestral arrangement that cocoons Spiral Down quite beautifully. Social content seems a little more prevalent in the lyrics. Take the duet Someday Soon: 'I'm going to ... March when they tell me to/ Cheer when it matters/ Someday soon'. But, as usual, it's relationships - often in need of attention - that are most often the main focus. This is both a disc for fans and a fine introduction for the uninitiated.