CHRISTINE LAVIN cares. Cares deeply. Maybe not as deeply as John Denver or the "Sensitive New Age Guys" she spoofs on her new album "Attainable Love" -- you know, the sort of men who can't get through the week without viewing "thirtysomething" -- but then who does? What's important to remember is that behind all the playful barbs and girlish giggles, there's a sensitive singer-songwriter at work here.

If she weren't, Lavin would never have come up with the album's highs and lows, the songs that bracket the endearingly silly tales that we've come to expect over the years. (You want silly? "Shopping Cart of Love: The Play" is a rambling account of a jilted lover who seeks comfort in massive caloric intake only to be be thwarted at the checkout line; "Fly on a Plane" is a Loudon Wainwright-ish ditty that takes a sudden turn for the worse.)

The good news is that despite a few lyrics that border on Harlequin romance, the highs hold a decisive edge. Heading the list is the album's title track, an insightful anatomy of the noncommittal male; "Victim/Volunteer," which explores why some folks constantly set themselves up as their own worst enemy; and the unabashedly sentimental but on-target "The Kind of Love You Never Recover From."