Tindersticks mounted one of 2008's most unexpected comebacks. Stuart Staples reconvened about half of the original band for The Hungry Saw, the band's first release of new material in five years. It was a welcome return, as The Hungry Saw presented a sort of Tindersticks mach II, a far leaner version of the band (probably due to the absence of multi-instrumentalist and arranger Dickon Hinchcliffe). Falling Down a Mountain continues in the same vein, although it is a touch less developed and a bit uneven as a result.
The highs are high, especially the duet between Staples and Mary Margaret O'Hara on the oddly touching "Peanuts." The band stays leaner on numbers like the gospel-tinged "Harmony Around My Table" and the almost Wilco-like "Black Smoke." These fine moments are dragged down by the seemingly unfinished (although lengthy) title track, and the one-note joke of "She Rode Me Down," which provides evidence that the band's heretofore unexplored sense of humor was best left that way. There's still enough to recommend Mountain, even if its weaker tracks are among the band's most frustrating moments. — Chris Drabick