Any You're A Star reject who fears they may be past their prime should listen to Lucinda Williams and take heart - at the ripe old age of 50, this Louisiana lady is making some of the most essential roots-rock music around. Her louche, bar-room drawl suggests a life filled with booze, fags and frustrated love affairs - and she gives it full rein on her latest album, a treasure trove of sultry soul songs and Southern Gothic storytelling. And while her approach isn't exactly subtle, Williams's sheer gutsiness and overpowering charisma is enough to put most of her younger rivals to shame. Dark, sleazy and impeccably rock'n'roll, World Without Tears is the sort of album the Rolling Stones would still be making had they not lost their nerve creative many, many years ago. It won't make Williams a pinup - but it might just make her a star.