It's been more than three years since the last proper Mountain Goats album, and the times have changed. Singer/songwriter and sole full-time Mountain Goat John Darnielle returns to a more welcoming environment now that Bright Eyes have cleared the way for the indie-rock/psych-folk hybrid that Darnielle helped pioneer in his early-'90s cassette-only days.
Though still sticking to his lo-fi roots, Darnielle experiments with studio recording for the first time on "The Coroner's Gambit." Sonically it's not much of a change from 1997's "Full Force Galesburg," but Gambit's songs are a little more potent and a bit easier listening. He gets warm and cozy on "Elijah," but on "Family Happiness" it sounds as if he's screaming at his therapist. Any occasion to listen to Darnielle drop wonderful phrases and succinct one-liners in his earnest croon is welcome.