And you will know us by the trail of bad albums

And You Will Know Us By the Trail of DeadSo DividedInterscopeTwo out of five stars

A 10-word name is not the only ambitious thing about And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead–the band’s latest album, with its larger-than-life orchestral swells, rallying rhythms and war-cry vocals, sounds like an epic attempt at rock takeover.

The result, however, is another story.

The band, once a slick, dark, dangerous force in the indie rock scene, now seems to have lost its mojo–the intensity of Trail of Dead’s 2002 masterpiece Source Tags & Codes is replaced in So Divided with self-indulgence and pop attempts.

Pop attempts? Trail of Dead? The band should have thought about pop appeal before it named itself And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead.

“Naked Sun” is an awkward honky-tonkin’ ode to classic rock that comes out sounding overdone (an entire brass section and whispery vocals “complement” the twang) and overly long (the cut clocks in somewhere around six minutes–now THAT’S pop territory).

“Stand in Silence” starts off rip-roaring, bringing back hope for the old aggressive sound of Trail of Dead. That hope is shattered, however, before the track is even half over by an interrupting orchestral swell that sounds like something out of the most recent John Cusack feel-good movie of the year.

The disappointment that is So Divided will be forgiven by Trail of Dead’s loyal fans, but one more release like this one, and Trail of Dead is officially more laughable than laudable.