Diehard fans will probably find stuff to love about The Spine, but I highly doubt this record is going to grab TMBG any new ones. It's possible that the kings of cool quirk have just quirked themselves to death and there's nowhere to go from there. Or maybe quirk is just getting old. Not that there seems to be that much of an attempt at quirk here. Despite drug references and the regular absurdist obtuse lyrical content, most of The Spine sounds like straight-ahead middle-aged-man rock. Guitars are very much in the forefront. The accordion has taken a hiatus. Still, The Spine has its moments, two of which were previously released on the Indestructible Object EP: the wry and witty Memo To Human Resources, and the bouncy Au Contraire. Not enough to make this a great record but enough to remind us that TMBG are really cool guys with a lot of water under the bridge and probably a few nice surprises to come.