The Drop

By and

Neko Case
Middle Cyclone
Anti Records

When I hear Neko Case singing about “the Sistine chapel painted with a Gatling gun” on “Polar Nettles,” the fourth track off her new album Middle Cyclone, or a killer whale pinning some unsuspecting man to the bottom of a glass tank before eating half his leg and both his lungs on the third track, “People Got a Lot of Nerve,” I can’t help but think that Case has been listening to a lot of Destroyer, the solo project of fellow New Pornographer Dan Bejar. Anyway, Case seems more concerned with melody than ever, and apart from a few unobtrusive misfires in the middle of the album, Middle Cyclone delivers the goods. Case even covers Harry Nilsson’s “Don’t Forget Me,” which is perfect because the undeniable forerunner of Neko Case with Dan Bejar’s sense of humor is the man behind Nilsson Schmillson and A Little Touch of Schmillson in the Night. – SC

The Lonely Island
Universal Records

Welcome to the new face of nerdy white humor. Well, it’s not entirely new. The Lonely Island crew (Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone and Andy Samberg) have been around for a while writing short comedy skits on the Internet. They caught the attention of Lorne Michaels and became Saturday Night Live writers, penning and performing some of the best SNL bits of the past decade. “D*** in a Box,” “Jizz in my Pants” and “I’m on a Boat” are all on the album, including the raucous Natalie Portman rap where she rhymes, “All the kids lookin’ up to me can suck my d***, It’s Portman mother f*****, I drink ’til I’m sick.” The songs are sung in an intentionally awkward style, juxtaposing white humbleness with a rough-riding gangsta ethos. Justin Timberlake and T-Pain make appearances in the aforementioned SNL songs, adding celebrity credibility to the hot comedy group. – CS

White Lies
To Lose My Life
Fiction Records

White Lies, a post-punk group out of London, has produced a debut album featuring dark, ’80s-inspired rock at the top of its game. Unfortunately, the band made their debut a little too late. Had the album come out in the heyday of bands like Interpol and The Bravery, it would have been hailed as one of the best in its genre. There’s a lot of talent and good song writing, but most of us have moved on from the moody, slow-cadenced sound that was popular a few years ago. Other new UK groups, such as Glasvegas, have taken the sound in a different direction, staying true to the essentials but finding new areas to explore. To Lose My Life repackages a used style that just doesn’t work anymore. – CS