The arrival of Sun is cause for a celebration of sorts: Cat Power's last record of original music was some six years ago, and the artist behind the moniker -- Chan Marshall -- has followed a stormy (if strangely elegant) path that seems as if it might someday simply vanish in a wisp of smoke. Marshall's raw and ragged early records were staples of liberal-arts-major dorm rooms of the 1990s, but the years since have seen her work grow increasingly more sophisticated, subtle and soulful. By constantly cutting her own path -- sometimes in a shambling alcoholic wreck, sometimes with an elegant timelessness -- Marshall has emerged as a minor international icon with few comparable peers.
In particular, her quartet of records from the '00s -- The Covers Record, You Are Free, The Greatest and Jukebox -- bear the fruits of that long progression, and trace the path of an artist whose careful attention to classic artists has made her something of a classic herself. In anticipation of Sun and admiration for Cat Power, we put together a retrospective of some of Marshall's greatest moments, from her early stuff to her latest.