I disagree with the past few reviewers who say that this is bland, boring and so-called "rock-critic rock." I had never really listened to any of their older recordings, but when I heard this one, I was instantly sold. True, the production is gritty at times, but if you want flashy, splashy bubblegum pop, go buy a Britney Spears or NSync CD. I'll take Magnetic Fields anyday. The term "rock-critic rock" seems to me to indicate to me one listener's disdain for intelligent, witty lyricism. He says that Merritt's delivery has no heart or soul. Once, again, I disagree. Upon first listen, I was awe-struck by the seemingly simple, yet intricately penned lyrics. Very clever, true. And who says cleverness is a bad thing? Have Limp Bizkit and Korn lowered our standards so much? Merrit's delivery is sublime. I wouldn't hear such wonderful lyrics presented any other way. These songs are at times whimsical and silly, at times wry (but never bitter), at times touching and heartfelt, and often a combination of all three. Never for a moment did I get the impression that they were not "felt." If anything, they are overflowing with emotions so layered and complex that upon first listen, it can be hard to process them emotionally. Personally, I like music that's challenging. It always rewards more with each subsequent listen. Such is this album. In a world of musical choices that seem to gravitate toward either pristine teenybopper mush and tiresome, pre-packaged rebellious moron-rock, Stephen Merrit's lonesome croon is a welecome voice. Fans of Yo La tengo, Pavement and the like, take note: this is YOUR music. Just LISTEN.