It's All Crazy!  (Tooth and Nail)

The album's full title, which we couldn't fit above, is actually It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All a Dream! It's Alright. And with it, mewithoutYou completes its transformation from a twitchy screamo juggernaut into a celebratory, post-folk commune. Less a search for God than a joyful and fearful surrender, It's All Crazy is a record of stories, as Aaron Weiss sings (his yowls are now rare) fables of faith and mantras of submission, forgiveness, and devotion. It's genuinely inspirational. —Joel Hartse

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Julie Lee

Will There Really Be a Morning  (independent)

Lee's solo project is haunted by beautiful poetry, an acoustic vibe, and an enchanting, fragile voice somewhere between Julie Miller and Victoria Williams. Lee can't take credit for all of the lyrics: the tender title track and the buoyant "Hope's the Things with Feathers" are both Emily Dickinson poems. But the atmospheric "Forgive Yourself," propelled by banjo and pedal steel guitar, and the hope-amidst-the-hurt of "The Other Half" showcase Lee's lyrical capabilities.—Mark Moring

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Christopher Ames

Everyday with You  (independent)

A concept album of mellow pop music cele-brating marriage (lots of love songs) might summon visions of Michael Bolton, but this project is surprisingly schmaltz-free. "Champion," resembling early Randy Stonehill, underscores the notion that marriage is built on a foundation in Christ. The album also encourages couples in spats or on the verge of collapse, as Ames's songs urge communication and restoration, giving the album broader appeal.—Andy Argyrakis

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Mat Kearney

City of Black & White  (Sony)

The album's first single, "Closer to Love," features remnants of Kearney's usual rhythmic spoken word and edgy beats, but much of the album—such as the dreamy love song "New York to California" and tinkling bells on the lilting "Runaway Car"—introduces a new Kearney. His radio-friendly songwriting is still informed by a Christian perspective, but these tunes definitely reveal a reinvented artist. —Andrea Bailey Willits

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