A new album from Bob Dylan is always a bit of an event, and following the artistic renaissance that was 1997's Time Out Of Mind, expectations for this one were as high as they've been for some time. Sadly Love and Theft doesn't come close to recapturing the dignified majesty of its immediate predecessor, being instead a ramshackle collection of jazz-inflected ballads that sound best suited to the back room of a smoky bar. The sad truth is that Dylan's cranky voice is now in irrevocable decline and when he tries to croon a straightforward love song the effect is more embarrassing than anything else. Love And Theft isn't a complete disaster and a couple of tracks do show traces of the old lyrical bite. On the whole, however, this is one for devotees only.