Midlake - Courage
Midlake’s third album, The Courage of Others, resides in the same woody, bearded Laurel Canyon neighborhood as their previous release The Trials of Van Occupanther. Tim Smith and his crew of laid-back balladeers have created another mesmerizing, smoke-filled work of quiet beauty that may not exactly improve on Trials, but does refine and focus their sound. Smith’s tender vocals, the band’s sympathetically hushed backing, and the strong melodies of the songs combine to cast a spell of hushed melancholy that’s only occasionally broken up by drums or volume. Indeed, the one song that rises above the no-tempo to midtempo mark, "Children of the Grounds," sounds a bit out of place before the web of vocal harmonies pulls the song back into the lovely gloom.