Maybe it's a tired idea, but it does seem that Melissa Etheridge's brush with mortality has deepened her both as a person and a performer. These songs plunge past the bombast and angst that have sometimes obscured her talent and let us see a more private, contemplative -- and melodic -- artist. The restraint serves her nicely: Where we might have previously cowered under a rock onslaught, she backs off a little, forcing us to lean in and really listen. Short, mantra-like songs pepper the album, offering messages about the importance of love. It's earnest, but she's earned it.