PERFORMER: LEONARD COHEN
ALBUM: THE FUTURE
THE BOTTOM LINE: One of contemporary songwriting's most vital resources at the top of his high-altitude form.
First reactions are especially valuable in cases like this. Forget the furrowed brow and the repeated candlelight reading of the lyric sheet with a glass of cheap red beside the CD jewel box. Whenever a performer of Leonard Cohen's high caliber and even higher seriousness comes out with a new album, the instinct is to treat it as if it were an invitation to a semiotics seminar or a cryptogram from a reclusive shaman poet. But...