Modest Mouse's We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank is one of the most anticipated releases of 2007. Their last album, 2004's Good News for People Who Love Bad News, yielded a radio hit, VH-1 support and even a Kidz Bop tribute, but upon first listen, their follow-up gives the impression the members of Modest Mouse are chafing at their newfound success in a typically indie fashion.
With the ante upped by addition of former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, their fifth album is denser and more layered than its predecessors, the tunes, on the surface, deceptively elusive. But digging deeper, the band hasn't lost any of their pop sensibility, obvious on stellar tracks such as "Missed the Boat", "Education" and "Little Motel". Here, challenging rock and quirky, buoyant pop are given equal time. Could there be another "Float On" in the mix? With the gorgeous vocals of "Florida", contributed by guest James Mercer (The Shins), inevitable comparisons are rendered irrelevant.