They Might Be Giants, Apollo 18

More sophisticated and musically daring than Flood, their immediately preceding crossover hit, the darker tone and more inscrutable songsmithing will be simultaneously more delightful to TMBG fans desiring a less FM-friendly feel yet less appealing to that album's residual casual interest. Not that they care, I suspect. The lyrics are their usual amusing doggerel, though "I Palindrome I" gets particular points for its actual palindromic vocals; it's more the variety of their musical dressing that distinguishes this album especially. In that vein particular standouts along with said tortuous example of wordplay include "My Evil Twin," "Turn Around" (delightfully ghoulish), "The Statue Got Me High" and my personal favourite "Dinner Bell," a joyful bounding ode to Pavlovian overindulgence. (I would also be remiss not to mention "Spider," in a whole new category of weird, with bass-heavy crushes and vocals like the dub from some long-lost Toho monster flick.) If you don't like a particular track, just wait, because they're all pretty short -- and this is taken to a rather startling extreme with the album's damnedest feature "Fingertips," an end-to-end gapless collection of tracks 17 through 37, all just a few seconds long, each unique and distinct like some tantalizing clip from a DJ cart before your dad switches stations to something else. The album cover will be your guide: if you are puzzled, nay, repulsed, by its juxtaposition of a lunar lander, a giant squid and a sperm whale then you should take it as representative of what you're about to hear and move on. But you'd be missing out, madam. (Content: mild language in "I Palindrome I"; a couple songs might be a little too ghastly for very little ones.)