Ryan Adams writes songs at such a blistering pace that he's been known to go into a studio, knock out an album in a week, and then stick it on a shelf somewhere, unheard except by his friends, his record label, and the ardent fans who haunt eBay and bootleg trading sites, stalking the disappeared. At the beginning of the year, Adams announced plans to satisfy collectors by releasing four of his already-finished "pocket albums." He spoke of putting them out as separate discs, then changed his mind and promised a box set. Instead, in a typical bit of caprice, the project was tabled and replaced by a single-disc "best of the boots" collection, Demolition. The title implies that the disc's 13 tracks are demos, but the album-opening "Nuclear" certainly starts out like the product of a full recording session, with bass, drums, a light synth wash, and two guitars (one picked, one sliding). The song builds to semi-cacophony, but the tone remains genteel and tuneful, with a minor lyrical idea (the explosive end of a relationship) given dimension by Adams' sweetly reedy voice and his rumpled presence. That pretty well describes the rest of Demolition: Its songs are sketchy but affable, with a confidence that makes the half-hooks sound almost indelible. Adams has defined his career with this kind of near-genius, sparking the persistent question of whether his songs would be better if he worked on them longer, or if their tossed-off quality is what makes them shine. Only Adams' Whiskeytown album Pneumonia has been a top-to-bottom gem; on the whole, the media-savvy troubadour may be best understood by the personal mix-discs that his fans compile from his proper releases and much-booted outtakes. To that end, Demolition provides some new material—the textured gospel honky-tonk track "Hallelujah," the lovely acoustic number "You Will Always Be The Same," the spare ballad "Cry On Demand," and the pointed, jazzy "Tennessee Sucks"—while notably lacking a number of bootleg favorites. It's yet another close-but-not-quite release from Adams, by turns striking and mundane.