i'm in the minority but my favorite era of Mr. Waits is the mid-80s through Bad As Me. just an unrelated note, it puts me at odds with a lot of friends lol
Congratulations, you are actually in the vast, vast majority. Many people do prefer his less-crazy '70s work, and why shouldn't they with tracks like Christmas Card, Tom Traubert's Blues and San Diego Serenade. But it is the general consensus that he became a great with the Swordfishtrombones, Rain Dogs, Franks Wild Years trilogy. Of course his work since then (especially in the 90s) is also held in an unreachably high regard by critics and fans.