Cracker's fifth studio album, "Forever," will be released Jan. 29 via Backporch/Virgin Records. According to the band's official Web site, the set was originally planned for an October release, but wa

Cracker's fifth studio album, "Forever," will be released Jan. 29 via Backporch/Virgin Records. According to the band's official Web site, the set was originally planned for an October release, but was later postponed by the label "to avoid the crush of holiday releases." In advance of the album, a seasonal excerpt, "Merry Christmas Emily," will be serviced to rock radio in mid-November.

Produced by frontman David Lowery at his Sound of Music studios in Richmond, Virginia, with additional tracks co-produced with guitarist Johnny Hickman and Sparklehorse's Mark Linkous, "Forever" is Cracker's first studio album since 1998's "Gentleman's Blues." "It's definitely a Cracker record, but some of the elements are updated," Lowery tells Billboard.com, citing "more of a dense, layered studio thing with a lot of manipulation in the songs."

"We're trying to make an intelligent kind of rock, but we're trying to be egalitarian, not elitist, in our approach, and fun has to be part of the equation," he continues. "I've never really believed that you have to dumb it down in order to be popular."

In addition to Cracker founding members Lowery and Hickman, the group's current lineup includes keyboardist Kenny Margolis (ex-Mink Deville), former Del Lords drummer Frank Funaro, and new bassist Brandy Wood. In addition to Linkous, Lowery's former Camper Van Beethoven bandmate Victor Krummenacher also turns up on "Forever" in a guest role.