A decade ago, The New Pornographers were an ecstatic power-pop firecracker, the audio equivalent of snorting some potent mixture of Pixy Stix and cocaine. Rarely is music so thrilling as Neko Case ripping through "Letter From an Occupant" like a cartoon character or the kitchen-sink choir that shouts out "Breakin' the Law."

A decade ago, The New Pornographers were an ecstatic power-pop firecracker, the audio equivalent of snorting some potent mixture of Pixy Stix and cocaine. Rarely is music so thrilling as Neko Case ripping through "Letter From an Occupant" like a cartoon character or the kitchen-sink choir that shouts out "Breakin' the Law."

Since then, Carl Newman has been mellowing with each successive release, culminating with 2007's mundane "Challengers," when the band crossed the line from graceful maturation into soft and stale. Even oddball auxiliary songwriter Dan Bejar seemed to have gotten the memo.

New release "Together" is a chance to right the ship, but the band mostly stays docked where we last left them, churning out mid-tempo pop tunes with impenetrably quirky lyrics and failing to apply Case's siren call to anything as magical as "The Laws Have Changed." These songs aren't actively bad, but they rarely surprise, excite or stimulate.

If the headliners fail to deliver the classics, at least early arrivers can look forward to the charming minimalism of Seattle folkies The Dutchess and the Duke and the imaginative indie-pop explorations of San Francisco's The Dodos.