4:48 PM: The Flaming Pornographers

The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema

A.C. Newman and the Pornographers have gone back to their roots on Twin Cinema, ditching their electric guitars and returning to the acoustic simplicity of Mass Romantic.
Surprisingly, Twin Cinema sounds nothing like A.C. Newman's recent solo album, The Slow Wonder. Newman remains in the background for a good portion of this album, giving fellow bandmates Dan Bejar and Neko Case more time to shine on some of the album's finest songs.
Is it better than the previous two albums? No. Mass Romantic had better hooks and the Electric Version was more consistent, but much like the White Stripes' latest album, Twin Cinema serves it's purpose as an ambitious transitional album by a band that's looking to move on from the signature sound they've come to be associated with to something much bigger.

The Flaming Lips - Mr. Ambulance Driver

If the song leaked today is any indication, The Flaming Lips are going to be taking a huge step backwards on their upcoming album, At War with the Mystics. Mr. Ambulance Driver, which is to be featured in the Owen Wilson romantic-comedy Wedding Crasher this fall, sounds like what I imagine The Soft Bulletin would have sounded like in the hands of a band with much less talent. Almost everything is in place for a good Flaming Lips song - Death obsessed lyrics, muddy drums, and Wayne's slightly hopeful vocals - but the excitement and ambitious orchestral majesty of TSB is long gone.
Hopefully this turns out to be nothing more than soundtrack filler, but if not, a lot of Flaming Lips fans are going to be severely disappointed with AWwtM.