Conventional wisdom suggests you could drop "... and the Mystic Valley Band" from Conor Oberst's new project and you wouldn't miss much. Oberst, after all, has been the primary creative force behind Bright Eyes since his teenage years, so why wouldn't he be even more of a control freak in the band bearing his name?

Conventional wisdom suggests you could drop "... and the Mystic Valley Band" from Conor Oberst's new project and you wouldn't miss much. Oberst, after all, has been the primary creative force behind Bright Eyes since his teenage years, so why wouldn't he be even more of a control freak in the band bearing his name?

Au contraire, emo-folk fans. The Mystic Valley Band is Oberst's most collaborative project to date, a songwriters' coalition that even features various bandmates on lead vocals for six of the 16 tracks.

Never mind that their contributions mostly indicate Oberst should go back to hogging the spotlight. It's nice to see such a notoriously gloomy performer having fun with a project like this. An opening set from A.A. Bondy will help him tap into the joy Monday night.