Xiu Xiu, ‘Dear God, I Hate Myself’ (Kill Rock Stars)
“If you expect me to be outrageous / I will be extra outrageous,” Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart promises at the start of his band’s seventh studio album. True — but after 2004’s creepily tender Fabulous Muscles, you’d expect him to be pretty sometimes, too. And on tracks like “Chocolate Makes You Happy” and “Hyunhye’s Theme,” cello, harmonium, and delicate guitar coexist with Stewart’s darker, squelchier impulses. But it’s with his jarring mix of the banal and the brutal (“I will always be nicer to the cat / Than I will be to you”) that Stewart shows his outrageous brilliance.