When singer/songwriter/guitarist Sam Coomes closes the opener and title track to Quasi's latest album with "I just came back here to say goodbye," his signature strained croon as compelling as ever, you can't help but wonder who (or what) is being bid farewell. Considering he declared in a recent interview that he feels that Quasi -- a duo with ex-wife and Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss -- still hasn't made its best record, he probably isn't dropping the curtain on the band itself.

Follow its decade-long indie-rock career and it's easy to track Quasi's constant evolution -- each release is an improvement on its predecessor. Hot Shit proves Coomes right: It's Quasi's most triumphant release to date, revealing the duo as the talented producers they've become since 2001's The Sword of God. Quasi brought a newfound confidence into the studio for Hot Shit, resulting in an album fed by well-placed soundtrack-like arrangements and dizzying spacey effects. Furthermore, it finds Coomes, who often favors keyboards, opting to place his guitar skills front and center, dirty and loud. Musing fantastical and prolific lyrics, each song radiates a different glow, whether it's blues and folk on "Master & Dog," Radiohead-like desperation on "No One," wartime politics on "White Devil's Dreams," or the upbeat carefree rock 'n' roll of "Good Times." In the process of letting go, Quasi has found room for growth and made an irreplaceable album in the process.

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