Ever since her 2003 debut Plantation Lullabies, Meshell Ndegeocello has quietly turned out one album after another of syrupy, moody R&B. Her ninth doesn't break from pattern, easing into semi-funky homegrown grooves with effortless informality. Producer Joe Henry keeps things simple, adding some atmospheric flourishes here and there, allowing Ndegeocello to glide across the songs like she's both a part of them and their caretaker. You could call Weather Ndegeocello's most intimate album, if all of her other records didn't also read like open journal entries. Nothing is rushed here, which can make songs like "Feeling for the Wall" and "Oysters" seem more lazy than casual, and the cover of Leonard Cohen's "Chelsea Hotel" seems like an odd choice on such a personal record. Still, Weather makes for some nice rainy-day music. — Michael Gallucci
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