Come on, you can't compare The Decemberists to Neutral Milk Hotel! The Decemberists are far too ORDINARY to sound like Neutral Milk Hotel!
I mean, yeah, there are some similarities, but they're all pretty superficial. Really, the arrangements, the production, and the songwriting on this album is a lot more safe than anything you'd find on a Neutral Milk Hotel album.
That said, there are some nice moments here. The Instrumentation is lush and at times the melodies are quite pretty. The lyrics make a great deal more sense than Mr. Magnum's lyrics, and I think that's a good thing. Yeah, Neural Milk Hotel's lyrics are unique and they often do seem to fit with the music, but when you get right down to it they're pretty much meaningless. The lyrics on this album depict little vignettes and occasionally fully-realized narratives, it's interesting stuff.