Little Honey proves a “pleasing homecoming” for Lucinda Williams, said Keith Phipps in The Onion. Ten years have passed since she released Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, that “rare album that perfectly summed up everything an artist stood for.” The breakthrough record left her with “nowhere to go but sideways,” however. Over the past decade, Williams has opted for “quiet (Essence), entrenched herself in the blues (World Without Tears), and plunged into miserablism (West),” while her mood kept getting darker and her music less inviting. On Little Honey, Williams “sounds happier than she has in years,” said Simon Vozick-Levinson in Entertainment Weekly. The 55-year-old recently got engaged, and a new optimism yields some pleasing rockers, such as boogie-rock opener “Real Love” and AC/DC cover “It’s a Long Way to the Top.” Williams deserves happiness, but heartache always has been at the root of her best work, said Jon Caramanica in The New York Times. She’s obviously not comfortable with uplift, a feeling she’s tried to avoid for most of her career. Her uninspired song titles and underwritten lyrics give off a sense of false joy.