You search the marquee, you museum-wander, you iPod-shuffle, you look stage right and left. In the autumn barrage of What's New in music and dance, movies and the visual arts, theater and the rest, there's a longing for the familiar: Where did he go? Where has she been? This just doesn't inspire like that did. Here, critics at The Washington Post hail the back-on-the-radar artists and the art they've been missing:

* J. Freedom du Lac charts the comeback bid of Depeche Mode (without which, people, there would be no Franz Ferdinand, oh no there wouldn't). N6

* Blake Gopnik steers you to the Corcoran's retrospective of Sam Gilliam, the sole African American pioneer of Washington abstraction. N7

* Stephen Hunter cherishes movie actress Gong Li's reemergence. N6

* Tim Page awaits next month's performance of John Corigliano's Symphony No. 1, a musical response to the AIDS epidemic. N7

* Linda Hales prescribes a trip to New York to witness the culture-twisting sensibility of Anglo-Nigerian designer Yinka Shonibare. N6

* Sarah Kaufman chats with choreographer Bebe Miller, who brings a world premiere to the area this week. N6

* Ann Hornaday cheers for the feature-length version of animator Nick Park's "Wallace & Gromit." Break out the cheese, please. N6

* Peter Marks greets Zelda Fichandler: The octogenarian theater visionary returns to Arena Stage with "Awake and Sing!" N7

Front row, from left: Zelda Fichandler, Nick Park, Yinka Shonibare. Second row: Gong Li, Sam Gilliam. Back row, John Corigliano, Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan, Bebe Miller.