Death Cab For Cutie sticks with its trademark emotional rock'n'roll sound on "Plans," its major-label debut for Atlantic after releasing four studio sets on Barsuk.

Death Cab For Cutie sticks with its trademark emotional rock'n'roll sound on "Plans," its major-label debut for Atlantic after releasing four studio sets on Barsuk. Due Aug. 30, the 11-track set will be led by the acoustic guitar-tinged single "Soul Meets Body," which will be delivered Sept. 13 to U.S. radio outlets.

The band exploded out of the indie rock underground on the strength of 2003's "Transatlanticism," which has sold more than 323,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Its profile was also raised thanks to frontman Ben Gibbard's participation on the Postal Service's 2003 Sub Pop album, "Give Up," has shifted 615,000 units.

Death Cab gained further mainstream exposure via performances on Fox's "The O.C." and with Pearl Jam on last fall's Vote for Change tour. But much like R.E.M.'s first major-label album, "Green," "Plans" does not forsake the band's musical roots, instead reinforcing the qualities that fans hold dear.

Gibbard's voice remains at the forefront, particularly on the slow building, strings- and electronica-addled "Different Names for the Same Thing" and the straight-up acoustic love ballad "I Will Follow You Into the Dark."

The disc, which was produced, mixed and mastered by guitarist Chris Walla, sports a number of evocative story songs: "What Sarah Said" chronicles the "nervous paces" of visiting an ill loved one in the hospital ("I'm thinking of what Sarah said / that love is watching someone die"); "Brothers on a Hotel Bed" captures the creeping ennui of a long-term relationship ("No longer easy on the eyes / these wrinkles masterfully disguise the youthful boy below").

In advance of a fall tour with Stars and Youth Group, the group has a handful of summer performances scheduled, beginning tonight (July 7) at Milwaukee's Summerfest. As previously reported, Death Cab is also the subject of the DVD "Drive Well, Sleep Carefully: On the Road With Death Cab For Cutie," which will be released July 26 via Plexifilm.