Tapes 'N Tapes' 2005 debut, The Loon, had critics scrambling for indie references and precedents: Nothing this fully formed could possibly be sui generis. Pavement and the Pixies got tossed around the most, which is fair enough, but TNT doesn't have the former's literary snottiness or the latter's abrasive edge, just a preference for '90s guitar tangle over '00s twee streamlining. It's probably best to treat TNT not as plagiarists of the new critical canon, then, but as a worthy addition—or at least a footnote. Little has changed since The Loon: The band still likes to cover hooks and ballads with dense harmonic interplay, letting guitars fight it out through feedback. But the sound is thicker: Producer Dave Fridmann (The Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev) pumps up the bass and musses the mix, giving the band the same kind of makeover Sleater-Kinney got for The Woods. So Tapes gets a best-of-both-worlds sophomore album, keeping everything that won people over while slightly tampering with the sonics, avoiding charges of stale repetition. Occasional lapses into hookless rhythmic workouts ("Blunt") drag things down, but the energy always snaps back. Maybe it's too early for this kind of revivalism, but Tapes 'N Tapes make a solid case for it.