So far, 2014 has been the year of the singer-songwriter, with new albums arriving from the likes of Natalie Merchant, Tori Amos, and Sarah McLachlan, among others. The most compelling of these offerings thus far is Ingrid Michaelson's diverse Lights Out. Previewed with the springy pop of "Girls Chase Boys," the album expands the musician's sound to excellent effect. While she is known for ukelele love songs and ballads, Lights Out works as an alt-pop effort that ranges from the Coldplay-esque "Home" and sulky but arty "Wonderful Unknown" to the rocker "Time Machine" and night-out anthem "One Night Town" (featuring Mat Kearney). There are still soft moments (like the lovely "Open Hands"), but most of the album finds Michaelson in a fun, experimental mode, making it an ideal record for spring.