Blessed with the kind of knockout voice a million mewling American Idol contestants would kill for, Neko Case has steadily drifted from the alt-country that informed her 1997 debut, The Virginian. Beginning with 2002’s Blacklisted, Case has wandered into more atmospheric territory. Her 2009 set Middle Cyclone exists in an autonomous region of Americana, where reverb drips from every twangy guitar, and her powerful voice has plenty of room to fill. As usual, Case approaches her work with whimsy (opener “This Tornado Loves You” is literally about a tornado being in love with a person) and empathy. (“People Got A Lotta Nerve” sympathizes with unfairly tamed animals.) And, as usual, it’s fantastic.