Who? Five reformed jazz students from the University of North Texas (frontman Tim Smith, guitarist Eric Pulido, bassist Paul Alexander, keyboardist Eric Nichelson, and drummer McKenzie Smith) split the difference between Britpop and yacht rock.

What’s the Deal? The drum machines and Moog farts on Midlake’s 2004 debut, Bamnan and Slivercork, earned the band comparisons to Grandaddy and Radiohead, but you’ll have to dig back a little deeper in your record collection to play spot-the-influence on the their second album. The Trials of Van Occupanther (out today) combines stately minor-key melodicism with warm vocal harmonies that at times recall Fleetwood Mac and Steely Dan. Excellent first single “Roscoe” has already inspired a tidal wave of bloggery.

Fun fact: Midlake have a fan in My Name Is Earl star Jason Lee, who directed the video for 2004’s “Balloon Maker.” LANE BROWN

Now Hear This: Midlake – “Roscoe” (Download MP3)

Now Watch This: Midlake – “Young Bride”

Talk: What’s your verdict on Midlake’s Trials of Van Occupanther? COMMENT

On the Web: midlake.net


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