On Play It As It Lays, Patti "Mrs. Bruce Springsteen" Scialfa sounds like the typical wife of a captain-of-industry type from New Jersey: vaguely bored and unfulfilled. If The Sopranos were still on, David Chase might have used the "cry, cry, cry" lament from "Like Any Woman Would" to convey Carmela's pensiveness. Only the dull edge probably isn't intentional—if this is Mary from "Thunder Road" 30 years on, walking across a much bigger porch in the mansion her man bought after leaving that town full of losers, she should go back to Roy Orbison and ditch these overly competent bar-band soul and blues tunes. (The genuinely soulful "Play Around" is a pleasant exception.) In the pantheon of rock-star wives, Scialfa belongs somewhere between June Carter Cash and Linda McCartney—a talented singer and musician in her own right, but not quite ready for center stage.