Knowing that Chan Marshall (sole proprietor of Cat Power) is notorious for onstage breakdowns and charmingly clumsy-sounding moments on record, it stands to reason that The Greatest, her most mature record yet, will polarize her cultish fanbase. On these dozen tracks, Marshall comes across more like a soul diva with a backing band than the singer-songwriter of past discs. This makes sense because she rounded up a group of legendary musicians from Memphis who have worked with the likes of Al Green and Booker T. and the MG's. Songs such as "Hate" and "Where Is My Love" sound as though they were written only to be sung in a dank bar with three drunkards half-watching, and on the show-stopping closer, "Love and Communication," murder-movie string arrangements and sensual keyboards help flesh out the drama. With few exceptions, the polish shows an excellent songwriter coming into her own and reveling in a new sound. With a little luck, she'll pull off these classy tunes live.