ANOTHER veteran singer-songwriter carries on doing what he has been doing seemingly for ever.

If at times Browne sticks to the middle of the road, he does so in style - and, anyway, he darts about too, in and out of American politics. Casino Nation is a withering assessment of his country's dangerous TV-age shallowness, looking in shamed puzzlement at the "Gleaming faces in the checkout counter/At the Church of Fame."

Then again, to set against such high-mindedness, there is the curious wish-fulfilment of the opening song, in which his gorgeous girlfriend undresses in the car on the way home.

The emotional intensity of The Night Inside Me stands alongside the charming pop of Never Stop, the quiet beauty of the closing song, My Stunning Mystery Companion and Sergio Leone, a hymn to the film-maker. Jackson may not spring many surprises but he is still in good voice on a richly-produced album which has plenty to say, especially on mid-life thoughts of "all my expectations long abandoned".

Updated: 10:24 Thursday, October 31, 2002