Whatever happened to the good old Adam Duritz, the guy whose heart rending vocals and angst-filled lyrics made me fall in love?
The last couple albums (Hard Candy, This Desert Life) have been pretty crappy by comparison to the first two (August and Everything After particularly, but also Recovering the Satellites). The cutting edge is off all his metaphors (elephants and circuses?). This is a band and a singer who made me swoon when I saw them perform "Round Here" in concert. Duritz has this gift for stopping, mid-song, to insert these dreamy interludes, full of references to other songs but still within the theme of the larger piece. I can't recall what it was he put in Round Here all those years ago that fit so perfectly, but if you are browsing, you might be able to find a particularly good live version of Round Here that cuts in the middle to Springsteen's "Thunder Road." It's so seamless that you'd think the original song was written that way.
UPDATE: Look at this to see some of the array of songs he interweaves.
UPDATE 2: Egads! It was a live version of Rain King that had the Thunder Road lyrics. Shame, shame on me.