The idea of a disc containing all the fiddly experiments and church-choir practices that didn't fit on Sufjan Stevens's rambling Illinois epic sends up quality-control warning flags. To be fair, the reigning prince of sensitive folkistry originally envisioned Illinois as a two-disc effort; it makes sense that tons didn't make the single-volume cut. But at 21 tracks and almost 76 minutes, The Avalanche confirms the value of a good editor. Many songs do showcase Stevens's incredible songwriting gifts: the cascading title track, the uneasy lullaby Pittsfield, which hints at past trauma with open-ended allusions, the Built To Spill blues and painstaking detail of Springfield. But there's very little here that ups the ante (or matches the highlights) of the original Illinois disc, and far too much filler, like meandering two-minute instrumentals that add to the run time but go nowhere. And while alternate takes on the standout Chicago are fun, there's no need for three (!) close-to-identical versions.