Cold War Kids, "Mine Is Yours"
Cold War Kids made a singular splash in 2006 with "Robbers & Cowards," an album filled with angular and oddly catchy songs like "Hang Me Up to Dry" that was driven by frontman Nathan Willet's high, unmistakable yowl. But the band's 2008 follow-up, "Loyalty to Loyalty," seemed to test its fans' level of devotion-it was a bluesy, murky curveball of an album that probably sent most of the fair-weather hipster fans back where they came from. With its newest set, "Mine Is Yours," Cold War Kids have done a 180 in the opposite direction: After uniting with Kings of Leon/Modest Mouse vet Jacquire King, the band has emerged with a set that's more inviting than its first but just as catchy. The U2-inflected guitar work present on earlier songs is much more prominent, as are Cold War Kids' melodic and anthemic qualities; the angst remains on tracks like "Skip the Charades." But most of all, Willet is developing into a powerful singer rather than a yeller, and "Mine Is Yours" opens a whole new chapter for the band.