6. Together (2010)
Together is a fitting title for The New Pornographers’ fifth album, which, upon release, felt like a reminder to fans that they were still a rock band through and through. With the exception of a few tracks, it all but leaves behind the zany, late-Beatles influences of previous record Challengers for something more direct and straightforward, evidenced on tracks like the Thin Lizzy-cribbing “Your Hands (Together)” and the near-Belle & Sebastian pastiche of “If You Can’t See Mirrors”.
Things peak on the gorgeous Neko Case song “My Shepherd”, which features some nifty guitar work from St. Vincent’s Annie Clark, but overall, Together is too safe. If Challengers was the sound of The New Pornographers loosening up, then this is the exact opposite: a push towards something more generic and simplistic. It’s not a bad record, but when you have such lively, creative, idiosyncratic personalities as Dan Bejar, Neko Case, and A.C. Newman playing for your team, there’s no reason to try and be this normal. –Dean Essner