Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The New Pornographers: Electric Version [Matador, 2003]
Earns its buzz. Tremendous craft, winning enthusiasm. You'll remember every song when it comes on--maybe even when it doesn't, hum hum. But if it has a point beyond whistling at the void, it declines to mention what that point might be. Also, I wish the sparingly deployed Neko Case would abandon her faux-country career. Carl Newman likes a lot of things about British pop that I don't, starting with vocal filters (his seems built-in) and that cute accent (signifying not class but artifice as a virtue). Is this what Zumpano sounds like? Who cares? B+