Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Modest Mouse: We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank [Epic, 2007]
Not much chance there's another "Float On" here to goose sales, but just because novelties are always unlikely, but because "Float On" found Isaac Brock in an atypically live-and-let-live mood. Usually he's more fuck-me, let's-get-lost, or oh-shit-not-again. So one candidate, the instantly hooky "We Know Everything," tops its "we know we know" backup with a "Left you dying on the floor" finale; another, "Steam Engenius," tosses in some woo-hoos on its way to "Stasis is what you got." In short, his latest lyrics are like his earliest, yoking images of failure and frustration to the loud and the catchy, thus rendering failure and frustration more fun. After six albums, this victory is getting too theoretical. Brock is a dour guy with a lot of talent and a good hustle who's been mining the same vein of meaning for over a decade. That's a long time--maybe too long. [Rolling Stone: 3.5]