Out of the Game is being billed as the most "pop" album of Rufus Wainwright's career, which is to say that it dismisses many of his trademark classical and/or stagey affinities. So, then, does an excess of pop equal an absence of Rufus? First, for an artist who is often mentioned in the same breath as Elton John, Wainwright has never made a record more indebted to Elton. With its lush strings, backing singers, horns, and overall accessibility, this is some Captain Fantastic-era shit. The doo wop-via-Queen swagger of "Rashida" and the Sgt. Pepper's pomp of "Welcome to the Ball" harken back to pop archetypes, while the queried chorus of the title track ("Does your mama know what you're doin'?") goes all get-offa-my-lawn. And though it is a bid for the mainstream (new-century pop auteur Mark Ronson produces), Out of the Game is melodically smart and consistently rewarding: the suddenly minor-key bridge in "Jericho," the patient bloom of the refrain of "Barbara," the cascading notes within the otherwise disco fodder "Bitter Tears." Only "Montauk," a piano-and-voice solo piece about his daughter, mines traditional Rufus territory, not to mention the seriocomic territory of his father, Loudon Wainwright III. "One day you will come to Montauk/And see your dad wearing a kimono," he sings, normalizing a potentially unfamiliar perspective.