Norwegian singer-songwriter Ane Brun's third album, Changing of the Seasons, opens with the pleasantly surprising "The Treehouse Song." Percussion rollicks and rattles beneath Brun's plucky guitar before the chorus gently erupts with a country twang reminiscent of Dolly Parton. The Smoky Mountain Songbird is a useful touchstone when attempting to describe songs like "Raise My Head" ("I've got my best shoes on/I'm ready for it all" goes the chorus) and "Round Table Conference," but as evidenced on her stunning 2006 effort A Temporary Dive, Brun has a unique vocal and songwriting timbre all her own. Seasons is rife with carefully placed lutes, strings, brass and the like: The cinematic and mournful strings of "The Puzzle" are bolstered by an impatient marimba, while the title track, about the fleeting thought crimes inherent in relationships, features wonderfully understated and fluid acoustic guitar work, subtle keyboard-organ padding and angelic background vocals. The first half of the album is so promising that it renders the less captivating second half all the more disappointing. Lyrically, the waltzy "Armour" doesn't really go anywhere or dig very deep; likewise, "Gillian," an ode to American singer-songwriter Gillian Welch ("She sang about Elvis/She sang about time/Gillian sang about Miss Ohio") is a quaint ode to the power of song but there isn't much emotional weight to Brun's detailed but oddly unspecific lyrics. Unlike "Treehouse," "Puzzle" or the melancholic "The Fall," which rank among the singer's best to date, there's not a whole lot at stake, making for a somewhat uneven album.