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Rufus Wainwright’s seventh studio release is just as grand as his previous records, but with a considerable difference: “Out of the Game” is his first album in nearly a decade that suggests he stretched well beyond his comfort zone. It’s masterful. After 2010’s “All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu,” a dark rumination on the loss of his mother, Kate McGarrigle, this new album marks a return to the pop chops and killer hooks that initially made Wainwright so celebrated. He enlisted Mark Ronson, acclaimed for his retro-minded work with Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen, to produce the album. Wainwright sounds inspired even as Ronson envelops him in everything from elegiac bagpipes and horns drenched in reverb to spectral country and soulful back-up singers straight out of Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side.” The songwriting and melodies are quintessential Wainwright, too. (Out Tuesday) James Reed

ESSENTIAL “Montauk”

Rufus Wainwright performs at Bank of America Pavilion on July 29.