Will the Shins make a further leap into the mainstream with their new Sub Pop album, "Wincing the Night Away," or will they remain comfortably perched atop list of the most commercially successful ind

Will the Shins make a further leap into the mainstream with their new Sub Pop album, "Wincing the Night Away," or will they remain comfortably perched atop list of the most commercially successful indie rock acts of their time?

"If we keep doing it the way we've been doing it, we can live this way," keyboardist Marty Crandall says. "I hope this might be the record that allows us to become our own enterprise and call our own shots. We've got the friendship and the experience behind us -- it'll be challenging, but it's something I know we can do."

"Wincing the Night Away" was initially expected this summer, then bumped to October and finally into early 2007, but frontman James Mercer says the extra time paid huge dividends for the band. "It would have been great to have released this a year ago, but the benefits [of waiting] are big," he says. "I'm constantly reminded of how much better the project gets as new discoveries are made. That only happens through taking your time and being able to approach it with some new perspective."

Mercer is particularly enthused about first single "Phantom Limb," which he says was inspired from a production standpoint by early Jesus & Mary Chain albums. "The song is a hypothetical, fictional account of a young, lesbian couple in high school dealing with the sh*tty small town they live in," he says. Elsewhere, "Red Rabbits" is what Mercer describes as "a strange, psychedelic piano number with this really tweaked out sound," while "Sea Legs" employs a hip-hop beat reminiscent of the Beta Band.