Cat Power's new album, <em>Sun,</em> comes out Sept. 4.
Stefano Giovannini

Perhaps you read "Marry Me, Cat Power: 9 New Reasons to Love Chan Marshall," my story last week about the long-troubled singer-songwriter's comeback with Sun, her ninth studio album. Well, Sun has arrived on NPR ahead of schedule and now I have to redo my entire list of reasons to celebrate Cat Power's return, placing this puppy at a solid numero uno. Listen for yourself right here.

Real talk: This is a great album. Admittedly, I'm a longtime Chan Marshall fan. I've loved the breakdowns, breakups, quirks, fits, onstage freak outs, good songs (and even some of the bad ones). But overall her output has been, well, melancholy. The mood matches her voice; it's been her "thing." Sun opens the curtains on that preconception, and that's why it's perhaps her best effort yet. She played all the instruments on the LP herself, which is new (she worked with a blues band on her last effort, the acclaimed The Greatest), and the Sun songs are upbeat, fun and--gasp--danceable, and not in a funeral waltz way but a Miami hipster dance club way. 

The highlights include the piano-loop charger (and first single) "Ruin," the lo-fi drum machine beats and keyboard bleats of "Manhattan" and "Nothin But Time," the epic centerpiece which has Iggy Pop and Marshall hollering what's perhaps the album's mission statement over heaven-bound piano and shape-shifting synths: "It's up to you to be your superhero! / It's up to you to be like nobody..."

Damn straight, girl.