Can a diva sing the blues? Past efforts at torch singing by the classically trained have sometimes left listeners feeling more stung than singed. But in tackling this slate of songs from the '30s and '40s (seasoned with a couple of newer, era-friendly tunes by Jay Leonhart and Michael John LaChiusa) for her third studio album, multiple Tony Award winner Audra McDonald has wisely remembered that plumbing their emotional core requires more than perfect vibrato and resonates from a place just slightly to the left of the diaphragm. McDonald claims this collection was inspired by the birth of her daughter. If that's the case, she is going to have one joyous, soulful child. The singer ranges from the gorgeous, delicate smoke of "I Must Have That Man" and the standard "More Than You'll Know" through the saucy jazz of Leonhart's "Beat My Dog" and loopy spunk of LaChiusa's "See What I Want to See" to the breathy blues of "Tess' Torch Song" and unabashed romance of the Gershwins' "He Loves and She Loves." And if the exotica-goes-Broadway ethos of the Brazilian "Bambalele" seems slightly askew, it nonetheless meets the album's happy criterion.