after reading some of the reviews, I realized that the problem is,his stuff is quite diverse from album to album, so it ends up being a matter of personnal taste (unless your tastes run from one end of the spectrum to the other, in which case anything you buy of his will be a score) And personnally, I like everything Tom Waits has done. But if you're relatively new to him (maybe you've heard a song or two and you're looking for more of the same?) then definately investigate everything he's done to figure out which is best for you (i.e. you've heard some raw, folky-ballad-type stuff and you'd like more of that, then get "Small Change". If what you've heard so far is a different, jazzy-noisy-funky-bazaar mix of sounds that you can't quite define but you want more of that, then get "Swordfish Trombones")For some, I think it matters which album you pick up first because it could effect your opinion of him (again, depending on what your preferences are) and it would be a shame if you chose wrong and dismissed him as someone you didn't like. You'd miss out on an awful lot. I believe he's done something for everyone and he's done it well every single time and I believe if you choose wisely the first time, you'll fall in love with his sound and eventually want to buy it all anyway... Having said all that, I think this album is fantastic and I think it's diverse enough within itself to please everyone on some level. I've had it since it came out and I still play it often; it does not get old, ever. Buy it, and you won't be dissappointed, at the same time, investigate all his stuff and treat yourself with more than JUST this one.