This song came up on my iTunes playlist again today, and as usual during the once-every-few-months times that it comes up, I had to rewind it and play it over and over again. What a moody, mysterious, violent, and enigmatic song it is. It could mean a number of things, but my guess is that this is a song about Chan Marshall's relationship with her father, who she worshipped as a child but who betrayed her by kicking her out on the street when she turned 16 so that he could bring a new main squeeze into his apartment. The original was written by Peter Jeffries during the 1980's as part of a band called This Kind of Punishment, but it was a fairly pedestrian "my lover wronged me" song whose lyrics Chan completely rearranged and sometimes changed to say what she wanted to say.
The song is "The Sleepwalker", off of the Cat Power album Dear Sir, which was recorded over the course of about two days in a basement studio with Chan Marshall's band at the time, Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth and Tim Foljahn of Two Dollar Guitar. I would wish peace upon Chan, but, sadly, it doesn't seem likely -- in recent interviews it's clear that her demons continue to haunt her.
-- Badtux the Music Penguin