After the unexpected runaway success of COME AWAY WITH ME, where to next? The good news about Norah Jones's sophomore effort is that she and producer Arif Mardin decided to leave well enough alone in most regards. There are no screeching guitars, thumping drum machines, or padding synthesizers, and most of the tempos are slow or laid-back--way back. Guests Garth Hudson and Levon Helm of the Band contribute to "What Am I to You?" and Dolly Parton makes an appearance on bassist Lee Alexander's "Creepin' In." Jones's backing group, the Handsome Band, provides just the right stripped-down accompaniments and subtle touches to support the blessing that is her voice. Jones knows how to luxuriate in the sumptuousness of her sound and infuse such unlikely lyrics as "my toes just touched the water" with a sensual blues sensibility. On top of all this, when it comes to phrasing, her tremendous instincts and smarts put her in rare company. What Jones does explore further is the art of songwriting, and the results here give every indication that she is on the right track.