Some of Dylan's fans say his later period — Oh Mercy through Modern Times — is their favorite Dylan period and captures him at his best.
Love And Theft marked a true return to form for Dylan, "not just his best album since Blood on the Tracks, but the loosest, funniest, warmest record he's made since The Basement Tapes. There are none of the foreboding, apocalyptic warnings that permeated Time Out of Mind and even underpinned 'Things Have Changed,' his Oscar-winning theme to Curtis Hanson's 2000 film 'Wonder Boys.'
"Just as important, Daniel Lanois' deliberately arty, diffuse production has retreated into the mist, replaced by an uncluttered, resonant production that gives Dylan and his ace backing band room to breathe. And they run wild with that liberty, rocking the house with the grinding 'Lonesome Day Blues' and burning it down with the fabulously swinging 'Summer Days.'" — AllMusic