I have heard just about every song that John Darnielle has ever produced, and although I'd take John Darnielle's early work any day over his last few CDs, I still looked forward to hearing this EP. After listening to it about ten times, I'm still not quite sure what I think. Like many of Darnielle's songs, the songs grow on you, and you really start to love them after you know them forward and backward. "Ox Baker Triumphant" caught my attention right away, and it could be a great song, but the guitar work sounds incredibly similar to "This Year." Less is more for Darnielle. This CD, like The Sunset Tree, is simply too polished. The lyrics on all the songs are solid (much better than "The Sunset Tree," in my opinion), but the best parts of his muisc--the cracks in his voice and raw emotion and intensity that you can find in his earlier work--are missing. Darnielle is at his best when it's just him, his guitar, and his tape recorder.