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Diana Krall 

The Girl in the Other Room (Verve)

Rue becomes Diana Krall. So, apparently, does marriage. On her eighth, best, and least jazz-oriented recording, the Canadian singer animates tunes by Mose Allison, Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell, and Chris Smither with winning inventiveness. She also steps up as co-producer -- with longtime mentor Tommy LiPuma -- and debuts her recent alliance with Elvis Costello. Krall wrote the music and new husband Costello the lyrics for most of the tunes on this exquisitely produced and almost as exquisitely paced album.

The best tracks are the enigmatic title tune, the jewel-like "Abandoned Masquerade," and a smoky, bluesy take on Waits's "Temptation," all suggesting that Krall is entering a new, more mature phase. No longer does she have to rely on standards to showcase her jazz personality, and she's willing to put her voice, sultrier and wearier than ever, more up front.

Krall lost her mother in late 2002; last year, the great bassist Ray Brown, who nurtured her early career, also died. The Girl in the Other Room isn't downbeat, but it's seasoned. Her decision to collaborate with Costello and to highlight tunes largely associated with pop and folk was a good one, making her far more than a Norah Jones for grown-ups or a jazz chanteuse wannabe. Will the jazzers buy this? Their loss if they don't.

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