Having written one of the chillout textbooks with their 1997 debut 'Moon Safari', Air have never been as successful with the revised editions which followed. And 'Pocket Symphony' will once again lead people back to that well-worn original.
It's a collection that finds the duo of Nicolas Godin and JB Dunckel in downbeat mood and not making as much of an impression as it's in their power to.
While beautifully produced and featuring intriguing traditional Japanese instruments, 'Pocket Symphony relies too much on the same pacing and strays over the line between low-key and dull - background background music if you will. Its standout song, 'Mer du Japon', ranks with Air's best; it's also the most energetic track on offer.
Never one of Air's strongest points, Dunckel's vocals feature too prominently here while guest appearances by Jarvis Cocker and Neil Hannon fail to live up to their potential. By the close you may think that the biggest lesson from this album for Godin and Dunckel is that they really should work with 'Moon Safari' vocalist Beth Hirsch again.
The song title 'Somewhere Between Waking and Sleeping' says too much about this album.