This is one deep, dark, beautiful record. Midlake has been working on The Courage of Others for a few years now, even scrapping it all entirely at one point. The band stopped touring in 2007, in part, to make this album — and now, for the first time in almost three years, it's finally ready to take to the stage to present its new work.
It's hard to imagine that Midlake's earliest music, back in 1999, sounded more like Herbie Hancock, and that the band's first love was jazz. At times, you can hear this Denton, Texas, group's love of '70s rock, particularly of the Fleetwood Mac variety. But what I hear in Midlake goes back to 1969 and a song from the first King Crimson record called "Epitaph." Without a doubt, this isn't a throwback band, or a band with nostalgia on its mind. The music of Midlake has set a tone heard on records from Bon Iver, Blitzen Trapper and Fleet Foxes, among others.
Midlake is a band with a singular vision. You can hear that loud and clear on this gentle masterwork, available here in its entirety for the week leading up to its release on Feb. 2.