Decemberists, 'Long Live the King'
The Portland, Ore., folk-rockers had a No. 1 hit in January's "The King is Dead," their sixth studio album; though this follow-up EP contains songs cut from the original album, the tracks are far from rejects. If "Long Live the King" follows in the direction of the enticingly somber "Burying Davy" and the dive bar twang of "Foregone," the EP should find success in its own right. Frontman Colin Meloy, who somehow managed to write a young adult novel during all of this, charms with his signature whimsical, soulful vocals, reminding us why the Decemberists are one of the most compelling folk-rock bands of the decade. –LM
Official website: http://decemberists.com/