Dear Miss Lonelyhearts

Some bands are trendy. Cold War Kids are borderline schizophrenic. They began in the mid-'00s playing blues-gritty indie rock but ditched that sound for clumsy Springsteenian sweep. They've added a Bowie/New Order gloss for their fourth LP, which nicks its title and concept from Nathanael West's 1933 novel about an L.A. advice columnist. On the title track, Nathan Willett quotes letters from readers and collapses in a glum puddle: "I've given up on explaining sorrow." All the literary ambitions and drama-rock gestures fall in a ponderous heap – like CWK are losing an arms race with their own pretensions.