Vuelta is Shindell's first new studio album since moving to Argentina in 2000. (2002's Courier was a live set recorded at venues around New York City the year prior.) The nine originals here are joined by a cover of Pete Seeger's "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy," all of which are united by a keen sense of portraiture, quiet dignity, and subtle narrative dramatics. It may well be that living abroad has sharpened his talent for telling stories set back home, in some cases through the eyes of foreigners or the disenfranchised. The emotionally compelling characters range from the taxi driver in "The Last Fare of the Day" to the little girl and her bird in "There Goes Mavis."