These blog-beloved Texans racked up loads of Fleetwood Mac comparisons with their breakout 2006 disc, The Trials of Van Occupanther. Now, on this lovingly crafted follow-up, the men of Midlake have moved on to emulating the late-'60s/early-'70s British folk-rock scene.
With its trilling flutes, pastoral acoustic guitars, and song titles like "Core of Nature" and "Children of the Grounds," The Courage of Others could pass for newly excavated work by Pentangle or Fairport Convention. Problem is, it sounds like newly excavated work that wasn't necessarily crying out for rescue. Although their ear for instrumental texture results in some gorgeous arrangements — check out the slow build of "Rulers, Ruling All Things" — Midlake are exceptionally dull songwriters.
Very few of their melodies go anywhere memorable, and when they do, they never go anywhere else. ("Courage" plays like one long mid-tempo drone.) As for frontman Tim Smith, if dude is excited about his lyrics, he certainly makes no effort to convince you of it. Overall? Pretty but pointless.