Only a few folks know what really led to Bennett's dismissal/departure from Wilco, but it would be hard to argue that his talents and input opened up Tweedy's mind and musical palette. And please excuse the fact that I just used the word palette; I just couldn't come up with anything else. Bennett was instrumental in Wilco's three best records: Being There, Summerteeth and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, not to mention the two Mermaid records. Since Bennett's been gone, the band's output has unquestionably suffered. A Ghost Is Born has its moments, but as a whole, is subpar by Wilco standards. 2007's Sky Blue Sky is a step above AGIB but still doesn't reach the trifecta that Bennett played a huge part in creating.
Back to Bennett's first record post-Wilco. From "Talk To Me" and "Forgiven" to "Like a Photograph" and "Little White Cottage", it could be argued that Bennett has released the best record by either Tweedy or Bennett since Bennett played his last lick with the band in Grant Park on Independence Day, 2001. Some of the songs are simple pop numbers, while others recall the sprawling sound that Bennett made a staple of the Wilco sound. If you loved Wilco's sound through 02, you should own this record.