The Decemberists will return with another epic, story-driven album next spring in the form of "The Hazards of Love," due March 24 from Capitol.
The narrative this time around concerns the trials and tribulations of Margaret, her lover William, the queen of a spooky forest and a rake who interferes in it all. The 17-track piece was tied together with instrumental interludes under the direction of producer Tucker Martine.
The first full song, "The Hazards of Love 1," recalls the mystic folk-rock of "Led Zeppelin III," and segues into the riffy, two-minute blast "A Bower Scene." Elsewhere, swaggering rock and majestic pop join together on "The Wanting Comes in Waves / Repaid," while the acoustic finger-picking of "Margaret in Captivity" seems to nod to Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive."
Among the guests on the album are My Morning Jacket's Jim James, Robyn Hitchcock, the Spinanes' Rebecca Gates, Lavendar Diamond's Becky Stark and My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden.
"Hazards of Love" is the follow-up to the band's major-label debut, 2006's "The Crane Wife," which has sold a career-best 284,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The Decemberists last week completed a three-volume singles series, "Always the Bridesmaid," featuring songs the band "really loved but presciently felt they would not fit" on "Hazards of Love."
Here is the track list for "The Hazards of Love":
"The Hazards Of Love 1 (The Prettiest Whistles Won't Wrestle the Thistles Undone)"
"A Bower Scene"
"Won't Want For Love (Margaret In The Taiga)"
"The Hazards Of Love 2 (Wager All)"
"The Queen's Approach"
"Isn't It A Lovely Night?"
"The Wanting Comes In Waves / Repaid"
"The Rake's Song"
"The Abduction Of Margaret"
"The Queen's Rebuke / The Crossing"
"Margaret In Captivity"
"The Hazards Of Love 3 (Revenge!)"
"The Wanting Comes In Waves" (Reprise)
"The Hazards Of Love 4 (The Drowned)"