After reading this thread about Ryan Adams, I bring up this subject again: why do people think Ryan is "returning to form" on Cold Roses? He's always been in form!
As I've said before, I don't get what is so great about his debut, Heartbreaker. I really like the record, but it showcases Adams as a chameleon. He's searching for his voice by aping his influences (especially Dylan).
He found his voice on Gold, his second album. Through the channels of 1970s country-rock, he got through to me. Every song is powerful, even at sixteen tracks.
He didn't know how to follow-up Gold: there were plans for a four-CD set of unreleased albums (including Destroyer, the Suicide Handbook, 48 Hours and demos) but that was reduced to one collection: Demolition. Then there was Love is Hell, a stark collection of songs that Lost Highway deemed, 'not commercial' or something like that (hence why it was initially released as two separate EPs). Going more with his rock roots (from the Smiths to My Bloody Valentine), Rock N Roll is an immediate batch of snappy tunes.
Now there is Cold Roses, which I have really taken to already. Harkening back to the moods and sounds of Heartbreaker, no wonder people say "it's his best since Heartbreaker." However, people have a grudge against this guy.
I've never seen Adams play live but I've heard he can be a sloppy mess in a live setting. You could say he's aping the Replacements, but I don't care. I like his music, but I know very little about his persona. Maybe people just let the persona overshadow the music. I don't know.