How in the hell did former indie rockers Modest Mouse get a major-label contract? Don't misinterpret that query. The Mouse, sort of a bastard spawn of Sonic Youth, Archers of Loaf and Pink Floyd, are a talented trio, capable of creating the quiet beauty and transcendent spaciness necessary to call a CD "The Moon & Antarctica." But pretty doesn't translate into strong hooks -- indeed, the album gets by more on sound and mood than craft.
Still, the band includes no less than four songs that exceed the five-minute mark, with the orchestra-enhanced "the stars are projectors" clocking in at more than nine minutes. It takes guts for a band to waste a record company's money like that.