The story so far: Weezer bassist Matt Sharp gets the boot, forms The Rentals and begins what promises to be a productive second act before that, too, begins unraveling, whereupon he relocates to a farm in rural Tennessee to get a grip and create soul-soothing music. This therapeutic journey is documented on Matt Sharp, a solo debut (following 2003’s EP Puckett’s Versus the Country Boy) that aims for the tortured ambience of Skip Spence’s Oar and Big Star’s Third/Sister Lovers—relatively quiet records that seemed inspired by very loud voices in the heads of Spence and Alex Chilton. The problem with Sharp’s album is that he’s neither inventive nor psychotic enough to animate the ruminative material and downtempo arrangements, in which Sharp’s semi-whispered vocals are accompanied only by Greg Brown (Cake) on acoustic and Josh Hager on a variety of droning axes. That said, the record passes by earnestly enough, recalling in its more melodic moments the hushed lamentations of Josh Haden’s lounge-inspired rock group, Spain. The process apparently made Sharp feel a whole lot better, at any rate, and that strikes me as a perfectly valid reason for making music. Always better to cut a record than one’s wrists.