|Madeleine PeyrouxMadeleine Peyroux doesn't simply interpret songs, she possesses them...and vice versa.Madeleine Peyroux is either an old soul or was "born with it" (depending on one's theory about the flashpoint of artistry); that became apparent in 1996, with the release of her debut album, Dreamland, a remarkably knowing work in which the then-22-year-old singer brought commensurate insightfulness to material associated with Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, and Patsy Cline. Her decision to cover Edith Piaf's "La Vie en Rose" reflected the decade that the Georgia-born Peyroux had spent living in Paris, from ages 13 to 22. In the ten years since then, she has brought a wealth of life experience to her natural affinities, first manifested on the long-in-coming sophomore album Careless Love and brought to fruition on Peyroux's new album Half the Perfect World.Half the Perfect World, once again impeccably produced by Larry Klein, serves as both complement and counterpoint to its predecessor, 2004's Careless Love, which drew raves across the board and sold more than a million copies worldwide. "This record is different from Careless Love in the sense that there's a unison of joy on it," Peyroux says of the new album. "It's pushing certain boundaries for me."Whereas much of her earlier work drew on writers and singers from the first half of the twentieth century, the bulk of Half the Perfect World focuses on artists and writers from the lifetime of the 32-year-old artist, including Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Fred Neil and Joni Mitchell. Peyroux's knack for choosing the perfect song is again key to the album's emotional impact, but her continued growth as a songwriter is equally important, and the new album's four original tunes more than hold their own, raising the groove quotient in the process. Peyroux, Larry Klein and Steely Dan's Walter Becker collaborated to write the album's opening track, the wonderfully catchy "I'm All Right." The album's other original songs reunite the writing team of Peyroux, Jesse Harris and Larry Klein (who penned the single "Don't Wait Too Long" on Careless Love). Rounding out the new album are Peyroux's interpretations of standards from Johnny Mercer, Charlie Chaplin and Serge Gainsbourg.