Midlake really did it this time. It’s not to say the Dentonites spent every last second of the past three years working exclusively on their long anticipated followup to 2006’s Trials Of Van Occupanther — drummer McKenzie Smith’s done time with St. Vincent and Regina Spektor, Eric Pulido’s continued making mean cups of coffee — but as they mentioned in their Progress Report, the band logged workmanlike 40-hour weeks on The Courage Of Others in a concerted effort to clear out the Fleetwood Mac vibes and incorporate other influences, like “British folk scene of late ’60s stuff.” The hard work’s paid off: The Courage Of Others is phenomenal. The Ren-faire madrigals that underscore the album’s harmonic blueprint will be the quick (and faire) handle, but that’s coupled with an environmentally conscious lyrical theme that makes it a sweeping record for our (end) times steeped in sounds more classically baroque than classically rock. (Not that it doesn’t rock.) The songs don’t shift gears so much as find angles on its dominant one, unfolding with painterly patience and blooming into supple, subtle epics. “Acts Of Man” is a perfect case in point, which you can hear along with the somewhat “Suicide“-al “Rulers, Ruling All Things.”
Also streaming at Hype Machine.