Canada's indie-pop sweetheart since 2004's Infiniheart, Calgary art eccentric and obvious portmanteau word fan Chad VanGaalen returns with his sophomore album, Skelliconnection. It kicks off with the driving Flower Gardens, an almost Carsian rocker with an intensity that the rest of the record doesn't try to replicate. The other 14 songs lope along moderately, some perhaps a little aimlessly. Pretty quiet moments like Red Hot Drops, embellished with synths, recorders and banjos, are just shy of too precious. VanGaalen's lovely, vulnerable voice sounds best in its lower range, and resembles the blustery wails of Arcade Fire's Win Butler when he reaches for higher registers. But despite any bugaboos, he's a plain great songwriter, and Skelliconnection is firmly above average. It comes with two sweet animated videos featuring the singer's own fantastical illustrations.