DJ Shadow, ‘The Less You Know, the Better’ (Verve)
He does whatever he wants, this guy. Though nowhere near as antagonistic as 2006’s hyphy-saturated The Outsider, DJ Shadow’s fourth album still defies expectations, dabbling freely in heavy-metal riffage (“Border Crossing,” “I Gotta Rokk”), sun-kissed acoustic reverie (“I Been Trying”), and Killers-style Brit-rock (the Tom Vek–assisted “Warning Call”). Highlights: Afrikan Boy cameos on a manic, infectious “I’m Excited,” while the lovely “Redeemer” comes closest to acknowledging the ambient-turntablist grandeur that made Shadow famous. But the churning poetic dirge “Give Me Back the Nights” screams “go away,” almost literally. The Less You Know, the Better ?is equal parts frustrating and admirable; as the title suggests, don’t bother looking for Shadow oversharing on Twitter.