First, a couple of basic axioms: Sun Kil Moon's Mark Kozelek is underrated; Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock is overrated. That said, Sun Kil Moon's Tiny Cities, an album of Modest Mouse covers, just doesn't add up. While Kozelek has previously paid tribute on disc to AC/DC and John Denver, the friction of mainstream cliché and tortured indie troubadour whether ironic or not worked. The problem with Tiny Cities is that Brock's strident whining is too close in spirit, if not sound, to Kozelek's own navel-fixated mumbling. The result serves about as much purpose as a dog barking along with a fire siren. Instead of adding mass or gravity to Brock's one-dimensional tunes, Kozelek's poker-faced acoustic rendering just makes them drag and lag even more. Self-indulgence interpreted self-indulgently: It doesn't get any more indie rock, or lame, than that.
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