Consistency has been a boon for Andrew Bird. A master at whistling, songwriting and playing the violin, Bird developed a signature sound several albums back and has had success mining that moody but playful territory ever since, including on this year's Noble Beast.

Consistency has been a boon for Andrew Bird. A master at whistling, songwriting and playing the violin, Bird developed a signature sound several albums back and has had success mining that moody but playful territory ever since, including on this year's Noble Beast.

Judging from the new Actor, sameness might be more of a problem for opening act St. Vincent, aka ex-Polyphonic Spree associate Annie Clark. After Clark's sometimes spunky but occasionally snooze-worthy debut Marry Me, her new collection sounds as if she spent less time writing music and more gazing at the stylish portraits of herself that adorn her album covers and promo materials. Maybe the Southern's splendor will shake these dreary tunes out of their funk.