"Welcome back," sing the Trashcan Sinatras to open the new "Weightlifting," reminding listeners that it has been eight years since their last U.S. album. Finally freed from the suspended animation caused by their former label's bankruptcy, the reanimated Scottish quintet sounds much the same as it did when "Cake" introduced the band to indie-pop audiences in 1990: tuneful, delicate and gently headlong.
Overall, the new album is less jaunty than the band's early work, with a high percentage of string-swaddled laments about such subjects as faithless women, haunted widowers and unsolved child murders. Yet only "What Women Do to Men" lapses into lugubriousness, and the sumptuously textured "A Coda" is one of the most alluring ballads in the group's catalogue. The bass-driven title song, which closes the album, partially dispels the gloom by foretelling the day when "you will find a great weight lifting." Still, a few more mid-tempo numbers as sparkling as "Freetime" and "All the Dark Horses" would have done more than any homily to brighten this pretty album's blue-gray vibe.
-- Mark Jenkins
Appearing Thursday at the 9:30 club with Roddy Hart. * To hear a free Sound Bite from Trashcan Sinatras, call Post-Haste at 301-313-2200 and press 8129. (Prince William residents, call 703-690-4110.)