Last year, Athens, Georgia's Elf Power emerged from the shadow of its better-known Elephant 6 peers with A Dream In Sound, an irresistible album that's equally catchy and sonically adventurous. After a bold step forward, Dream's successor finds Elf Power holding its ground. Heavy on interesting textures, The Winter Is Coming needs a few more standout tracks to live up to the standard set by Dream, but, given such daunting expectations, coming close almost counts. Psychedelic pop doesn't come much better than the title track, "The Naughty Villain," or the album-opening "Embrace The Crimson Tide," but elsewhere Elf Power seems content upping the trippiness factor of its previous work. The rubberized bass line and sitar combo of "Wings Of Light" and the oddly didgeridoo-like background noises of "100,000 Telescopes," to choose just two examples, make sure the band's inventiveness is never forgotten, and the production, from the band and Chris Colbert with mastering by Dream's Dave Fridmann, showcases every eccentricity. By the time the epic "Albatross" devolves into babble, listeners will have either fallen under its spell or given up entirely, though those with an ear for the odd will likely opt for the former. Winter is one of those albums that sounds great on headphones and thoroughly puzzling blaring out car windows, but who says you have to take off your headphones?