Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The New Pornographers: Challengers [Matador, 2007]
Still a band that improves everyone in it, and more forthcoming this time, though they really ought to risk despoiling their precious graphics with lyrics. Carl Newman will always be too formal (do Canadians really say "hangs in air," not "hangs in the air"?), but when Neko Case steps up to take one of his difficult-love songs, feelings surface--and also the meanings Case's own albums archly avoid. Plus, who would have thought Destroyer Dan Bejar could write an open-skied Manhattan anthem that ventures into Queens? It's "Myriad Harbour," the indie-rock "New York, New York." Mark Kozelek could cover it! B+