Trials of Van Occupanther was one of the coolest and out-of-nowhere albums, so when news surfaced in late 2009 of a new record from the boys from Denton, TX, I was stoked. However, Midlake must have found out how much I love disappointment, so they scrapped whatever they had recorded and put out The Courage of Others on the first Tuesday in February.
I don't really know what's wrong with this album. It lacks soul ... or something. There's definitely some sort of intangible, some sort of X-factor that was all over Occupanther but that is almost entirely absent from Courage. And part of it may be my fault -- perhaps I set my expectations too high -- but they had 3.5 years to work on Courage, so I'm not sure what they were doing for that entire time (you can only play too much Wii before it becomes stale and boring, so I'm sure that wasn't it).
Surprisingly, a fair amount of music critics liked the album (hint: I'm not one of them). Not surprisingly, my favorite track on Courage sounds like it could have earned its way onto Occupanther:
Blurb: Ok, so this album isn't the end of the world, but it certainly was enough to make me wonder what in the world the guys who made The Courage of Others had done with Midlake. (Go pick up The Trials of Van Occupanther if you don't already own it.)