The Thievery Corporation have always faced a bit of a quandary when it comes to reconciling their music and their message. While their lyrics and song titles often imply a fairly radical critique of Western power structures, their dreamy, seamlessly produced fusion of trip-hop and world beat would provide a far more convincing soundtrack for a mid-afternoon daydream than a revolution. Despite this apparent disjunction this Washington D.C.- based duo have nonetheless managed to produce a string of albums that can only be applauded for their effortless evocations of dub, boss nova, tropicalia and a myriad of other styles. Culture of Fear marks a happy return to the more placid waters of classic Thievery Corporation albums like The Mirror Conspiracy and Richest Man In Babylon. The album’s strongest moments occur when guests arrive to give some focus to its indisputably lovely, but sometimes meandering productions, as when Boston bred underground rapper Mr. Lif enlivens the title track with some incisive verses on mass media and surveillance culture.