First, I should say that I'm not very disciplined when it comes to music. I hardly ever listen to an album from beginning to end, and I generally purchase albums with a particular track in mind; I'll repeat the track and, over time, will tentatively listen to the tracks before and after it, eventually finding three or four other songs I enjoy. Four tracks -- I consider that a successful purchase.
This album marks an exception, and an outstanding one at that. I opened the Amazon box late one night and decided to listen to it from the start. I had no guidance as to particular songs I should listen to and figured it was worth a shot. I was transfixed, and played it as I drifted off to sleep. Played it again as I "worked" my way out of bed. There are, of course, stellar tracks: I particularly like "The Absence of God," "Accidntel Death" (a nod to Postal Service/Dntel afficionados), "More Adventurous," and every other track through the end. But I started out by particularly liking the first half, and I still like it a hell of a lot.
Look, Liz Phair has been a disaster post-"Whip Smart," but we liked her because of her brashness and the way she (at her best) made tracks that were both conversational and melodious. That's tough. Jenny Lewis does exactly that, but with less posturing. It's very odd, very bracing, and exceptionally "pretty," to use an unfortunate word.
The album is supremely excellent. Eminently listenable. Yes, "The Execution of All Things" was great (I particularly liked the title track), and this one is less ostentatiously experimental, with none of the out-and-out vocal weirdness of that album. It's also more fun. A fair trade, to my mind.