Modest Mouse’s first album in six years and their best album since Good News for People Who Love Bad News. I know what you’re thinking: “Good News…” was their last really good album and also arguably their best album. So if this just their best since their best, which came out in 2005, then this isn’t necessarily good.

Except it is.

In fact, I’d say it’s their second best. I know “This is a Long Drive…” had a lot of fans, and, when it came out, it was genius. But I went back and listened to all my Mouse records after hearing Golden Casket, and I have to say that “Long Drive” didn’t hold up for me as well as “Good News.” Or even “Lonesome Crowded West.” But I digress.

Golden Casket is similar in theme and sound to Mouse’s post-Good News work, but unlike most of those albums, this one feels cohesive–as if they’ve finally figured out what they’ve been trying to say as they moved from experimental and dark to more mainstream and pop. This is “big” music, meant to be played loud and meant to fill the hall.

So say what you want: They’re not as interesting when they’re happy. They’re using electronic sounds instead of playing their instruments. It’s mainstream arena rock. Whatever. Artists change and grow.

And I, for one, grew with them on this. Recommended.

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