After forcing fans to endure the silly tomfunkery of Midnite Vultures and putting them to sleep with Sea Change's sad-sack strumming, Mr. Hansen reunites with Odelay producers the Dust Brothers for his best album in almost a decade. Guero isn't a return to the Beck of yore, as many have suggested, but a logical evolutionary fusion of Mellow Gold's Atari-slacker rap, Odelay's sampladelic space-age pop and the subtle bossa-touched balladry of Mutations. Beck and the Brothers use wacky samples as background noise, letting his lethargic vocals, tinny slide guitar and junkyard percussion dominate the minimalist blues of Go It Alone, the frenetic barrio rock of Qué Onda Guero (which cops Loser's rhymin' en español shtick) and the ghost-town country of Farewell Ride. Even the sole Nigel Godrich-produced track, Girl, is superlatively surreal pop that sounds like Beck doing the Beach Boys. What's odd is the dark, apocalyptic vibe of his lyrics - has someone watched Battlefield Earth a few too many times?