Album: Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Mirror Traffic (Domino)

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The Independent Culture

After the brief excitement of the Pavement reunion, Stephen Malkmus is back making amiable but unchallenging off-kilter country rock songs, albeit with great opening lines like "I saw you stripping in your Birkenstocks" and "Would you like to pet my rifle?"

The best, and least typical, track is the angry, punkish "Senator", which contains such gleefully seething lyrics as "cattle-prod the working class", "the toxins, American-made!" and "what the senator wants is a blow job".