The Jayhawks parted ways at the worst possible time: Having recently released and toured in support of the exceptional Tomorrow The Green Grass, the decade-old country/folk/rock band was on a remarkable roll. Of course, the group eventually reformed, minus singer/songwriter Mark Olson, and chose to continue recording as The Jayhawks under the leadership of remaining singer/songwriter Gary Louris. Unfortunately, the first Jayhawks album without Olson suffers from his loss: One of the great things about the pre-breakup Jayhawks was the way Louris' and Olson's voices combined to create a countrified sound that was at once ragged and beautiful. Here, the remaining band members back him up capably, but that inimitable vocal balance has been lost. More frustrating still is the lumbering pace of Sound Of Lies, which is bogged down with far too many slogging ballads ("The Man Who Loved Life," "Haywire," and many more) and "down on my knees/begging you please" couplets. If this is The Jayhawks' "rock" record, as has been widely reported, it's not a particularly rocking one. A few songs capture the magic of past albumsthere are some nicely haunting moments on "Dying On The Vine," and "It's Up To You" is a charming mid-tempo numberbut for the most part, Sound Of Lies makes you long for a reunion tour.