A fortysomething from the Chicago 'burbs with a killer bio -- he spent thirteen years as a doorman downtown before trading it in for this much less reliable career path -- Ike Reilly has spent three albums honing his literate, loose rock and its icepick-clever focus on the peaks and (mostly) horrors of everyday living. On We Belong To The Staggering Evening, he's focused that cunning ambition into one of the most throat-grabbing surprises of the year. On record, Reilly paints himself as a vaguely self-destructive smartass who can't entirely bury his meltable heart. He's Philip Marlowe in rock form, his words tumbling out as melodic beat poetry in "Subterranean Homesick Blues"-style clusters (hence hipster-literate song titles such as "Bugsy Salcido Has Fled The Desert"). He makes sing-songy, pub-anthem melody the order of the day here, using it as a canvas on which to paint stories of loners and losers. "You're So Plain" is a tale of lost love made more powerful by its everydayness, and "Valentine's Day In Juarez" is a dark travel journal with an agreeable hallucinogen-themed chorus that would get stuck in a toddler's head. But Reilly's most powerful trick is playing it straight. There couldn't be less snark in "Broken Parakeet Blues", a severe-sounding tribute to a soldier heading into the sands.