Pitchfork called his 2004 solo debut The Slow Wonder "soulful sing-alongs with grit, pop nuggets that hold up to hours of repeat play, and ultimately, the sound of a great songwriter hitting his stride." Get Guilty both expands on and synthesizes his talents, with the introspection and nuance of The New Pornographers' last album Challengers, but with more immediacy and the excitability of his most-loved songs.
Get Guilty showcases beautifully Newman's fascinating blend of catchiness and impenetrability – witness the first single, "The Palace At 4 A.M.", a Top 40 singalong that namechecks a Donald Barthelme short story and talks of Polynesian dives, bingo, and bombs. "Thunderbolts" is from the point of view of a gang of young troublemaking gods, and "Like A Hitman, Like A Dancer" distills the 1967 film "Le Samourai" into a simple tale of indecision. Still, those simple thrilling hair-on-back-of-neck moments so familiar to Newman fans are plentiful here: The explosive "change your mind" in "Changeling (Get Guilty)"; the unexpected heart-tugging harmonies of "Like A Hitman"; the crescendo coda of "The Heartbreak Rides".