'Shut Down the Streets'
For an artist so associated with indie power pop, A.C. Newman's third solo effort "Shut Down the Streets" is downright sedate. The New Pornographer's frontman gets personal on "Shut Down the Streets," which leads to some beautiful moments, such as the somber title track about his mother's passing. Newman does show some energy on the wry and clever "Money in New Wave" and "Encyclopedia of Classic Takedowns," but the album lacks many of the triumphant flourishes one comes to expect from his oeuvre. What results is a nice, easy listening experience, but the relatively level sound and tone throughout will leave you pining for something different. (SCOTT A. ROSENBERG)
TILLY AND THE WALL
Kicking off with the double-barrel blast of "Love Riot" and "Heavy Mood," both of them bulging with the band's signature stomp-and-clamp percussion, the fourth album from the Omaha indie-rockers is both more in-your-face and less lovable than their previous effort "O." After the strident start, the group settles in and starts to show the breadth of their talent with the '50s-leaning number "All Kinds of Guns," which offers a modern take on the era of brooding dudes in black leather. The defiant closer "Defenders" is an odd duck that aims to inspire, but with its shouty children's chorus and air of petulance, derails instead. (CHARLES DEVILBISS)