This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
It’s easy to imagine sadcore singer-songwriter Mark Eitzel turning out a cover album of songs by Nick Drake. Or even Nick Cave. But the hits of Anne Murray, Glen Campbell and (heaven help us) Boy George? Now that’s twisted — even for Eitzel, the former leader of American Music Club and a guy whose sense of humour seems just a shade darker than Todd Solondz’s.
He seems to be putting it to work on his seventh solo outing Music For Courage & Confidence, converting oddball softballs like Snowbird, Gentle On My Mind, Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? and More, More, More into mellow, melancholy neo-ballads built around soft-centred keyboards, narcotically seductive arrangements and his trademark scratchy, Elvis Costello-ish whisper. Updates of Bill Withers’ Ain’t No Sunshine and Curtis Mayfield’s Move On Up take the occasional (or, more appriately, odd) detour into the after-hours clubs of funkytown, but on the whole, this deliciously bleak, beautifully black-hearted disc is better suited to the outpatient lounge than the cocktail lounge.