He is a rare and truly unique talent.
I really agree with this. And as you pointed out, the lyrics are very important. I love the fact, for example, that he often chooses an 'unreliable' narrator such as in "Short People". It's funny if you think that some people actually took that one seriously instead of seeing what Newman was getting at.
Concerning "Harps and Angels", I've been able to listen to it a few times now and have to say it's really a beautiful album in my view. It's very varied in the choice of pieces which resemble some of his early works as well as some of the elements from albums like "Born again", "Faust" or "Bad Love".
From "Harps and Angels" which contrasts the exquisite music with its ironic comments on spirituality, to the sincerely melancholic "Losing you", to another one of Newman's biting political commentaries in "A few words in defense of our country" and the ironic take on growing old that is "Potholes", there's a great variety here that is IMHO a pleasure to listen to.
I look forward to listening some more