As a member of the seminal pub-rock scene that spawned the punk movement in the mid-70s and saw the rise of his sometime collaborator Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe pretty much dropped from sight in 1990 only to re-emerge four years later with the critical hit The Impossible Bird. That album sported country twang and a newly-minted maturity. This is his fifth album since the Bird flew, and it marks another milestone in the 63-year- old’s efforts to shed his teen-pop past and chronicle life well into middle age. His fate in “a loveless land” is captured in the sumptuous “I Read a Lot,” an open letter to a lost love. He ponders again his old romances with “House for Sale,” an insightful mix of the want and whimsy that colors so many of Lowe’s songs. Both illustrate an artist distilling a life filled with regrets without being maudlin. Despite a couple of upbeat tunes, this is Lowe at his bluest—The Old Magic isn’t nearly as twangy as 2007’s At My Age or as hook- laden as 1998’s superb Dig My Mood. But his aim is true, the songs resound with country and early rock, even a touch of lounge, and Lowe’s warm vocals as always are one of pop’s guiltiest pleasures.