I just downloaded and listened to the new Tom Wiats track “Road to Peace” (i got it free from eMusic.com, you can also get it from Pitchfork Media for free (Waits has released it for free along with a few other tracks). I had no idea what I was in for. The song is a ballad about the conflict in the Middle East, particularly the Arab Israelli conflict and the resent war between Israel and Hamas. It is defitely worth a listen.
It seems like there might be a resurgence of the “political ballad”. Earlier this year, Neil Young released an entire album of “war protest” songs called “Living With War”. I’ve got to say though, as much of a Neil Young fan as I am, I found “Road to Peace” to be far more compelling.