The Shins

All inter-personal band drama aside, James Mercer's decision to revamp the Shins lineup appears to have been a positive one. Port of Morrow, the band's first album since adding new members Richard Swift, Yuuki Matthews, Joe Plummer, and Seattle shredder Jessica Dobson, is leagues more pleasant and cohesive than its predecessor, 2007's Wincing the Night Away(and doubly more so than Mercer's forgettable Danger Mouse collaboration Broken Bells). It's a return to form, back to the simple but incisive pop songs that made the Shins so appealing in the first place. And it's nice to see the generally sedate-seeming Mercer loosen up and have some fun, as in the Royal Tenenbaums-reminiscent video for "Simple Song," in which he plays a deceased patriarch who gleefully sends a wrecking ball through a house full of his inheritance-greedy children (played by his bandmates) while singing this mantra of sorts: "I know that things can really get rough/When you go it alone/Don't go thinking you gotta be tough/And play like a stone." With Washed Out. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Sat., Sept. 22, 8 p.m., 2012

 
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