The Courage of Others 3/5 Midlake’s Tim Smith sings with the reedy, honeyed tones of a man obsessed with Radiohead and Jethro Tull but paranoid about being influenced too much by either. His subject matter leans toward the earth, kings and queens, and people who possess a warrior’s sense of valour. But the quiet, psalm-like tracks on The Courage of Others feel crisp and human, eschewing the overblown sonic flourishes of, say, Oregon rock band The Decemberists. At the album’s heart are the sombre ‘Rulers, Ruling All Things’ and ‘Children of the Grounds’, both excellent, and both moving away from the band’s earlier classic-rock revivalism toward Lord of the Rings creation myths. ‘I have been cruel and kind without knowing/I fell in the silence, overwhelmed by these days,’ Smith sighs on ‘Rulers’. It almost makes us wish Thom Yorke would take up the flute, adopt a Southern drawl and grow a beard. Sharon Steel Available now online.