Headlining dates include August 20 at Gravity Lounge in Charlottesville, Va.; September 18 at Coronet Theater in Los Angeles and September 19 at Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.

Shows with Merrit begin August 22 at Windjammer in Isle of Palms, S.C., and wrap September 7 at Workplay in Birmingham, Ala., with additional stops in Raleigh, Charlotte and Asheville, N.C., and Atlanta.

For this tour, Thompson invited New York City-based The Grey Race (Jeff Hill, Ethan Eubanks and Jon Darling) to join him as his backing band. Rounding out the lineup is Ben Stivers on Keyboards.

Thompson also has a late September/early October U.K. tour on the books, with stops scheduled in Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester, York, Cardiff, London and more.

What You Need, released in June in the States and due out later this month in the U.K., is Thompson’s fourth album. The singer, known for his good-natured black humor, describes the new album as “a happy record.”

“Well, maybe not happy, but upbeat,” Thompson said. “Actually, maybe not upbeat, but it does have some up-tempo songs! Anyway, it’s as close as I’ve gotten to making the record I’ve always wanted to make.”

Although Thompson co-produced his last two albums, he recruited Marius de Vries, whose extensive production resume includes work with acts as diverse as Björk, Madonna, David Gray and Rufus Wainwright, to help realize his expansive musical agenda.

“I knew that I wanted this one to be more adventurous, with strong, solid rhythm tracks and beautiful airy touches to support the songs,” Thompson explains, adding, “Marius gets all the credit for that. He’s taken the arrangements up a notch.

“There was nothing off-limits, nothing that was too weird or too difficult. I could tell him that I wanted something to sound like fairies dancing around a maypole, and he’d know what button to push to get that. We were able to add a lot more layers, without overshadowing the songs themselves.”

Download “In My Arms” (Right click and choose “Save link as” or “Save target as.”)