The Walkmen, Lisbon
Official release date: September 14
The verdict: We have something mildly shocking to say. You should maybe be sitting down. Are you sitting down? Yes? Okay. Good. Here goes: On their new album, Lisbon, the Walkmen — those lit-professor-wardrobed Brooklynites/Philadelphians who have made their name over the last decade on a strict diet of superb mope-rock — almost sound sort of happy. The particulars haven't changed, meaning front man Hamilton Leithauser still gets to drop his drawn-out yelps over alternately quiet and bashed-in vaguely old-timey guitar and piano lines. But the overall wistfulness has been turned down a notch or two: First track "Juveniles" gets the positive vibes rolling cautiously, and "Angela Surf City" blows them wide open with one of the biggest, most-committed-to choruses the band has ever turned in (of course, last album's "In the New Year" is tough to beat). There's also a song called "Victory" that's only partially sarcastic ("victory, right beside me / and blood, blood on my hands") and another called "Woe Is Me" that actually doesn't sound sad at all. Basically, by the time Leithahuser sings, "Well, they say you can't please everyone / but I'm stuck on a winning streak" on "While I Shovel the Snow," it's not entirely clear whether he's joking.