Fortunately/Unfortunately the be all, end all, resides with the New Pornographers. And
I really can't argue against such a statement. Mass Romantic was the supergroup at the height of their powers and everything after that has been akin to cool water (it's hard to admit you don't like it or need it, right?), but it's not something you bring up in normal conversation.
"Oh I had some great fucking water yesterday."
With Challengers though, I'm getting a bit sick of the cream and sugar (not to mention the worst album cover in the history of album covers). It was such a relief to get the latest project from Jason Zumpano. In the Co. of Ghosts is nothing to get excited about, it's simply a quaint album of piano instrumentals from the guy who lent his namesake to possibly the most underrated band in the realm of Canadian Pop. Geez, listening to Goin' Through Changes for the first time in maybe seven years brought back a tidal wave of memories. Slept on for sure.
But back to Ghosts which is another quiet triumph for the equally slept on Catbird Records. The CD is a dying format for sure (can't remember the last one I bought), but Mr. Catbird always has something up his sleeve. Jason Zumpano's latest was not intended for public display, it was an artistic trade with friend Jason McLean. Now that it is available for thrifty consumption by the rest of the world, we get both halves. Zumpano's extremely cinematic penny arcade scores (very Vince Giraldi) and hand-numbered, hand-pressed, prints from the mind of McLean (very Seussian, Goldbergian, and Kolchakian). Not something you'll be putting on your year-end top-ten or pumping on the car stereo, but something that will be cherished as a artifact of artists bucking the trend when most people are hard-driving the past in search of fast-money for the immediate future.