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Spoon 

Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (Merge Records)

Like Pavement, Spoon delivers mysterious songs that are as much about atmosphere as they are storytelling. But instead of sputtering clang and guitar rumble, the Austin band shrouds its spartan tunes in a danceable post-punk throb.

Tinged with expressionistic darkness, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga strikes with Spoon's usual efficiency. The noirish "Don't Make Me a Target" struts from a smoky cabaret into the sweet static of "The Ghost of You Lingers." The dubby pulse of "Eddie's Ragga" features a femme fatale that leaves singer Britt Daniel lamenting, "You could break my legs/You could kick me downstairs/There ain't no getting over Joanie Hale-Maier."

Elsewhere, producer and session whiz Jon Brion lends his hand to the baroque pop of "The Underdog," while "My Little Japanese Cigarette Case" attacks like a glammed-up Cheap Trick, with David Byrne following behind, throwing rice.

A tad more rocking than recent efforts, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga shows no slack in Spoon's song craft. The band delivers another fine album full of nuance, stopping just shy of revelation.

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