He’s back. Los Angeles singer/songwriter Mark Oliver Everett (better known as E) and his band the Eels have returned with their tenth album, Wonderful, Glorious. After a hiatus to recharge, E and his cohorts have issued a 13-track, 50-minute record suffused with songs about E’s typical topic: a man examining his own sanity and searching for the meaning of his life. The Eels open with tunes about taking on all comers: the rattling “Bombs Away” and the soulful, ‘70s-slanted “Kinda Fuzzy.” From there, E finds the unforeseen sweetness amongst the dregs (initial single, the fuzz-suffused “Peach Blossom,” and quietly teetering “Accident Prone”). The self-development cycle continues with stimulating rocker “Open My Present,” where E acknowledges he’s ready to embrace life’s rewards. E has never shied from examining darkness, but Wonderful, Glorious has a life-affirming inclination, with friendship and mutual accomplishment a persistent theme, such as the forceful “Stick Together,” (where E intones, “Challenges only make us stronger”). The closing title track sums up E’s ebullient optimism, where reasonable acceptance beats out anger: a worthwhile wish.

Grade: A