This presence is even more stirring on Pandemoniumfromamerica, Mortensen's new collection of 14 wide-ranging tracks. Taking lyrical cues from William Blake, Rumi, and Jonathan Swift, the album could almost be called the dissonant but similarly adventurous Sgt. Pepper of its age, or, more rationally, the My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (Mortensen enjoys effects processors). Produced by Travis Dickerson (Thanatopsis, the Fire Ants), it's a wild ride of truly poignant depths ("Gone," with father and son on plaintive piano; "Shadow," sprouting malevolence from melancholy) and ostentatious highs: The folk ballad "Half Fling," which closes out the project and tweaks the ear most amusingly, features hipster hobbits Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, and Elijah Wood, who also play on several other tracks. Pandemoniumfromamerica is consistently surprising, a homespun marriage of harmony and chaos, poetry and politics.