Mike Doughty's new album, Golden Delicious, is a loose-limbed, freewheeling set that brings all the aspects of his singular muse together in one smart, humorous and eloquent package. Doughty's last offering, 2005's Haughty Melodic, was a sprawling, expansive set that took years to produce. On Golden Delicious, Doughty hewed close to his "dude theory" -- the idea of making a relaxed record that sounds like a bunch of dudes playing music for the pure joy of playing. It was cut with his touring band: keyboardist John Kirby, drummer Pete McNeal, and bass player Andrew "Scrap" Livingston, who moved over to guitar for the recording process. Semisonic's John Munson sat in on bass and recent GRAMMY winner Dan Wilson (Semisonic, Jewel, Dixie Chicks) returned as producer.