Propelled from relative obscurity to year end lists with the West Coast sounds of 2007's 'The Trials of Van Occupanther', Midlake have done a very rare and brave thing for the follow-up: refused to make the same album twice.

Some '...Van Occupanther' fans may be more bothered than beguiled by the ironically titled 'The Courage of Others', but in a perfect world everyone would admire singer Tim Smith and company's decision to travel down a different path and not worry about how many will follow.

That path leads the quartet deeper into nature with 1970s folk as their map. Do they keep going around in circles or are they discovering something new at every turn? That depends on how the minor keys, slow pace, soaring vocals and drum fills sound to you.

Whether you feel you know as much after one song as 10 or end up gazing at a John Hinde calendar for hours while listening, '...Others' is a real mood record and it seems fitting, given its lyrical preoccupation, to offer this hope to the disappointed: it could be a 'grower'.

Harry Guerin