Artists like Mark Eitzel have recorded albums like Candy Ass before killing themselves. Returning to the electronic textures of 2001's The Invisible Man, Candy Ass has neither that album's fitful stabs at optimism nor its breezy hooks. Instead, Eitzel muses bleakly about heartsickness, decrepitude, rodents and the potential of Hall and Oates records to induce ennui. The mesmerizing "My Pet Rat St. Michael" suggests that Eitzel is not keeping the most uplifting company, and "Green Eyes" mocks sentimental Parisian café music through a drunken fog. "I Am Fassbinder" drifts across two minutes of submerged groove before opening with God help me, I think I'm about to die/And guess what, I wasted my whole life. Less lugubrious is "Sleeping Beauty," in which Eitzel's shifts from a whisper to a croon, summoning regret in gorgeous, gut-wrenching strokes and a threadlike acoustic guitar. With a chunk of music's most evocative gloom to his name 16 albums' worth, both solo and with his band, American Music Club Eitzel is no stranger to despair. But this time he's really down. Let's hope Candy Ass does not signal an early departure.