The first five cuts on Beauty & Crime are absolutely gorgeous--near and sheer perfection.... The remaining songs, while enjoyable and meeting Ms. Vega’s usually high lyrical standards, don’t gel quite as smoothly.
Beauty & Crime is an effective meeting point between her folky organic side and more experimental bent, and is populated with her strongest melodies since the dazzling "Nine Objects of Desire." [Summer 2007, p.91]
While the lovely melodies and Vega's hushed vocals make it perfectly good background music, to achieve the full effect you have to listen to those lyrics--she's one of the finest lyricists of recent times.