I started listening to this band for no other reason than that I was reading the books written by the lead singer's sister. The lead singer is Colin Meloy, the sister is the suberb short story writer and not-all-that-good novelist Maile Meloy.
Very literary family. Based on the two albums I've heard, Picaresque and The Hazards of Love, Colin's songs are all short stories themselves, full of all kinds of incident and detail. Unfortunately, a little of him goes a long way: his yearning earnest voice wears on a listener after awhile.
Luckily, his latest album, The Hazards of Love, is both a varied and weird offering that brings in a lot of other, better singers. It's a kind of bizarre pastoral fairy tale on a grand scale, full of shape-shifting beasts and infanticide and rape. I'd tell you the whole story but I don't think I've totally processed it yet.
Jim DeRogatis is a little obsessed with it.