Middle Cyclone is the fifth studio album of American alternative country singer-songwriter Neko Case, released on Tuesday, March 3, 2009 on the ANTI- record label. Her first solo effort in three years, Case stated that "it took a very long time to make." As the title of the album suggests, the record's lyrics are permeated with imagery of tornadoes and, more-generally, nature. Thematically Middle Cyclone concerns how Case's upbringing socialized her to form strong emotional attachments to nature and animals, to the neglect of human relationships, and her reconciling "the fact that I need love".Middle Cyclone features a variety of guest performers, including M. Ward, Garth Hudson, Sarah Harmer, and members of The New Pornographers, Los Lobos, Calexico, The Sadies, Visqueen, Kurt Heasley of Lilys, and Giant Sand. It also features two prominent covers: "Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth" by Sparks and "Don't Forget Me" by Harry Nilsson.
Middle Cyclone debuted to strong reviews from contemporary mainstream and independent music critics. In particular, Case's voice garnered unanimous praise for its strength, clarity, and emotional range. In December 2009 Case was nominated for two Grammys for her work on Middle Cyclone: Best Contemporary Folk Album and Best Recording Package (the latter nomination shared with artist Kathleen Judge).