After hearing Broken Bells' debut album, the partnership between Shins mastermind James Mercer and serial collaborator Danger Mouse isn't as unlikely as it might have seemed. "Broken Bells" is essentially the fourth Shins album, continuing Mercer's trajectory toward mid-tempo adult contempo and leaving Danger Mouse to toy around in the background as is his wont.

After hearing Broken Bells’ debut album, the partnership between Shins mastermind James Mercer and serial collaborator Danger Mouse isn’t as unlikely as it might have seemed. “Broken Bells” is essentially the fourth Shins album, continuing Mercer’s trajectory toward mid-tempo adult contempo and leaving Danger Mouse to toy around in the background as is his wont.

There’s a lot to like about the results — deceptively infectious hooks, an endless variety of background sounds and textures, the warm psychedelic glow that hovers over everything. It’s hard not to long for the punchy nervous tension that characterized most of Mercer’s greatest works besides “New Slang.” But if he’s going to go maudlin in his old age, this ain’t a bad way to do it.

Broken Bells play the Newport on Friday with Maps & Atlases.