With a growing indie-rock fan base that included O.C. character Seth Cohen, Death Cab for Cutie finally moved up to a major label with Plans, their fifth full-length release. It’s both the modestly forward-looking effort past listeners would have expected and a bold leap forward. Ben Gibbard again sings for those with aching hearts, a bit puzzled about where they find their young lives going, but this time from a more resolutely grown-up position. Like R.E.M. before them, Death Cab is building an impressive catalog from diverse blocks that click into place nicely.

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