With a title like Mental Illness you could either expect an album to be a bit tongue in cheek or humorlessly overbearing. Thankfully Aimee Mann's latest is more the former than the latter. With simple and effective lyrical puns and plays on words, Mann paints vignettes of melancholia with a folksy sense of humor. The content is less psychoanalytical and more allegorical, with a detached sincerity. Based mostly around spare acoustic strumming and plucking, the arrangements subtly build with tastefully placed percussion, eerie accompanying vocals, and delicate strings, as on album opener "Goose Snow Cone." On songs like "You Never Loved Me," one of many hypnotic waltzes, Mann's sense of lyricism and melodic timing create an engaging story that switches between humor and pain, in a way that evokes some of Bob Dylan's more playful writing. "Lies Of Summer," with its laid back beat, sounds like a Neil Young anthem with Moody Blues orchestration, while "Patient Zero" is a ballad of Hollywood gloom and paranoia, which could also pass as a Shins deep cut. All throughout, Mann's voice is honest, pure, and direct, without any sense of being self-absorbed.