Picks and Pans Review: Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band

UPDATED 06/01/2009 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 06/01/2009 at 01:00 AM EDT

Outer South |

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Conor Oberst's last three albums have been credited to Bright Eyes, Conor Oberst and now Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band. Actually, though, the MVB played on last year's Conor Oberst. On Outer South, however, Oberst shares songwriting duties and even lead vocals with his band. Guitarist Taylor Hollingsworth, for instance, delivers the frisky, '60s-spiked pop of "Air Mattress." Elsewhere, the MVB puts some more muscle behind Oberst on "Roosevelt Room," one of the rockingest things the alt-folkie has done. But while this group effort is consistently good, Oberst, by any designation he wants to use, is capable of better.

DOWNLOAD THIS: "I Got the Reason #2," a soulful, seven-minute ballad

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