Never one to be outdone, Tom Waits released ALICE and BLOOD MONEY simultaneously, both featuring music written for plays directed by Robert Wilson. Loosely based on THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, ALICE is much more low-key and ballad-heavy than its companion release, but just as incisive and affecting. The title track is a smoky, jazz-tinged torch song that conjures pleasant memories of Waits's evocative work for Francis Ford Coppola's film ONE FROM THE HEART. 'Everything You Can Think' is an absurdist portrait a la the seminal RAIN DOGS. Waits opens the door to the freak show on 'Poor Edward,' a disturbing tune about a man with a female face on the other side of his head, and the more light-hearted 'Table Top Joe,' a swinging, jazzy tale of a character with no bottom half but plenty of rhythm. Despite the effective journeys into the bizzaro universe, perhaps the most stirring moments on ALICE are the wounded romantic ballads 'Fish and Bird' and 'I'm Still Here,' where Waits's knack for a classic melody mates perfectly with a lyrical combination of wistfulness and regret.