Ann Powers Ann Powers is NPR Music's critic and correspondent. She writes for NPR's music news blog, The Record, and can be heard on NPR's newsmagazines and music programs.

Leonard Cohen's new album, Popular Problems, comes out Sept. 23. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Courtesy of the artist

Popular Problems

Audio for First Listens is no longer available after the album is released.

Robert Plant's new album, lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar, comes out Sept. 9. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Courtesy of the artist

lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar

Audio for First Listens is no longer available after the album is released.

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YouTube

Taylor Swift Aims For Pop's Throne

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Top 40 In A Summer Of Discontent

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Shovels & Rope's new album, Swimmin' Time, comes out Aug. 26. Leslie Ryan McKellar/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Leslie Ryan McKellar/Courtesy of the artist

Swimmin' Time

Audio for First Listens is no longer available after the album is released.

Andrija Tokic in his East Nashville studio, The Bomb Shelter. Joshua Shoemaker/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Joshua Shoemaker/Courtesy of the artist

"Crash On The Highway" by Hurray For The Riff Raff

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Jenny Lewis' new album, The Voyager, comes out July 29. Autumn de Wilde/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Autumn de Wilde/Courtesy of the artist

The Voyager

Audio for First Listens is no longer available after the album has been released.

Morrissey's new album, World Peace Is None Of Your Business, comes out July 15. Greg Gorman/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Greg Gorman/Courtesy of the artist

World Peace Is None Of Your Business

Audio for First Listens is no longer available after the album has been released.