By Mikael Wood
Updated October 26, 2007 04:00 AM

This husky-voiced songstress does a kicky post-punk cabaret thing that’s perfect for people looking for something lighter than PJ Harvey’s weighty musings. Nicole Atkins went to Sweden to record her debut, Neptune City, with Cardigans producer Tore Johansson, and the arrangements she came back with were worth the trip: Johansson outfits the singer’s wistful accounts of tribulations in her native New Jersey with percolating percussion, funky bass lines, and romantic film-score strings. It’s heartbreak nearly at its finest — and most cosmopolitan. B+