James Mercer came into 2012 facing major expectations. The Shins mastermind captured the hearts and ears of alt guys and gals across the country, with at least partial aid from a mega-headphoned Natalie Portman. Following the albums 'Oh, Inverted World' and 'Chutes Too Narrow,' what would the 'Port of Morrow' hold?

The answer's similar to the previous records, though Mercer lost all his former members. There are a handful of perfect little pop songs here: the super catchy 'Simple Song,' the rapid 'Bait and Switch,' the Bryan Adams-summoning 'Fall of '82,' all coming together like a group of old friends. The Shins will still make you hum along, as Mercer has a great talent for turning phrases and nailing a killer hook.