The Dears, ‘Missiles’ (Dangerbird)
These swooning, Smiths-worshipping Canadians set aside the overweening sadness of their early recordings for 2006’s fantastic Gang of Losers. But troubled sessions for Missiles led to the departure of most of the band, leaving married couple Murray Lightburn and Natalia Yanchak to indulge in some claustrophobic soul-searching. When they stay focused and sweet (as on the sparingly orchestral “Berlin Heart”), they soar. But when Lightburn adds spoken-word bits and überwanky guitar solos (“Lights Off”), ending with an 11-minute, church-inspired requiem (“Saviour”), you may be ready to follow his former band members out the door.