Not bad, but I can't in all conscience give Frank Blank Francis more than three stars-there are just too many indispensable recordings out there to justify that. So, what exactly drags down this project? It's hard to quantify. The reworkings of old Pixies songs which comprise the first CD are not just quick knockoffs which disrespect the originals for a quick payday. They are brave, thoughtful re-imaginings which couldn't be more different from the originals. The instrumentation and arrangements are often surprising and work reasonably well, as often as not, offering insight into the structure of the tunes. So, what is missing? Passion, for one thing. Not that we expect racing punk fury from Frank Black at this point. That doesn't wear well on a forty-year-old millionaire (ask Billy Corgan). But you don't feel like Frank HAS to make these musical statements or he will DIE, like you did on his Pixies work, or his first solo album or Teenager of the Year. What's really missing is commitment. On this latest project, Frank says he's satisfied, but he's TOO easily satisfied. The relentless urge to make his work perfect, to ruthlessly trim away everything that isn't essential, all of which made Frank's work so great in the past, just isn't here. The great Frank Black is CONTENT, which may be good news for him, but it's bad news for us. Still, for completists, this project is interesting in the way it captures Frank in the very beginning of his career (the second CD is Frank, solo, shortly before he recorded the first Pixies album) and at this latest stage of his career, inviting us to focus on the stark differences between the two.