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Greatest Hits 2


Why does Toby look so sad? In each of the 10 pictures scattered through the packaging of his second greatest-hits album, he's wearing a serious hangdog frown. Even if Toby's tough-guy image demands the grumpy face, he has plenty to smile about. During the second half of his career, as documented on this disc, he's slammed out one smash after another and become one of country's biggest stars.

The secret to his success, Greatest Hits 2 suggests, is confidence. From 1999's nyah-nyah-ing "How Do You Like Me Now?!" to the three new songs included here, Toby never seems less than absolutely sure of himself. Whether chatting up a romantic prospect on "I'm Just Talkin' About Tonight" or proclaiming his roughneck status on "Country Comes to Town," he projects cool cowboy cockiness. He does have a sensitive side, as "My List" and "You Shouldn't Kiss Me Like This" demonstrate. But those tunes are just breathers from attitude-laden salvos like the hang-'em-high Willie Nelson duet "Beer for My Horses" and the wincingly cartoonish "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)."

The new tracks are a mixed bag. "Stays in Mexico" is raunchy fun, and Toby's teenage daughter Krystal shows off a soulful voice on the oldie "Mockingbird," but "Go With Her" doesn't quite register. Audience participation juices up live versions of chestnuts "You Ain't Much Fun" and "Should've Been a Cowboy."

The trouble with Greatest Hits 2 is what isn't here. In a break from best-of protocol, there's nothing from his latest album, Shock'N Y'All, forcing casual fans to buy that one too if they want "I Love This Bar," "Whiskey Girl" and "American Soldier." Anyone picking up Greatest Hits 2 assuming they'll get those songs will soon be frowning.

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