It’s time to pay attention to Craig Finn, who made his mark as the frontman with the Hold Steady — an infectious, Replacements-style rock act from New York — but really steps up on his own. Finn’s second solo album is packed with songs rich in street intelligence and wry humor; his voice has a similar timbre to Bruce Springsteen’s, and some tracks here evoke the talk-singing days of Springsteen’s first two albums. Finn’s keen powers of observation light up the metaphorical “Maggie I’ve Been Searching for Our Son,” the horn-stoked “Saint Peter Upside Down,” and the startling “Newmeyer’s Roof,” about watching the towers fall on 9/11 while sitting on a friend’s roof drinking beer. Elsewhere, Finn deals obliquely with romance in “Christine” and the chilling “Sarah Calling From a Hotel.” The album title seems a misnomer at times, but many songs do ring with a likably hopeful perseverance.
Essential: “Newmeyer’s Roof”
Craig Finn plays the Sinclair on Oct. firstname.lastname@example.org