I was late to the Cat Power game, though I always heard folks (and girlfriends) rave about her. I just never took the time to listen. I caved when I heard You Are Free, which we will get to here pretty soon. So, I'm still in the process of retroactively buying some of her records.
This is the debut, a short collection that is lo-fi, but really likable once you give it a chance. Having the advantage of listening to it after knowing where it's all going, it sounds like exactly what it is: someone finding their voice. The piano is nowhere to be heard on this one; it's all poorly tuned guitars and vocals that alternate from whispers to yelping. It's sloppy, but once you accept that, there's some nice tunes to be found.
"3 Times" and "Rockets" are both songs begging to be fleshed out past their bleak treatment here, but as they are, they're still plenty convincing. "The Sleepwalker" sounds a bit too much like PJ Harvey to me, but it fits the overall mood of the songs well.
This reminds me a bit of The Breeders' debut, Pod. You can hear the promise, but all the details just haven't quite been figured out yet. She'll get there.