The Shins

The Shins' third and newest album, Wincing the Night Away, was readily available on your favorite illegal file-sharing service early last November, a full three months before its official release. The fact that Wincing went on to debut at #2 on the Billboard album charts -- with a whopping 35,000 digital copies sold out of 118,000 overall -- should finally quiet the grumblers who complain that file-sharing is killing album sales. After all, the sneak preview obviously only increased the buzz around Sub Pop's Band That Will Change Your Life -- and created hype the Shins actually lived up to. Wincing augments the group's lush, homespun pop with detail and nuance -- watery atmospheres à la the Flaming Lips, trip-hop beats, murky synth lines -- without losing the burnished melodies (the hollowed-out beauty "Phantom Limb") and flowery poetry (the resignation-laden breakup screed "Turn on Me" is tops) that made them Generation iPod faves in the first place.

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