I've been a Death Cab fan for nearly 10 years now, and although I do like their last albums for me they never quite reached the heights of Transatlanticism. Ben Gibbard previous solo offering, under the name "All-Time Quaterback" was a sign of things to come from a very talented songwriter.
So when I first listened to former lives I was actually a bit disappointed, if not to say quite a lot. I thought it was ok-ish/good but not that great, and the song "Duncan" seemed so out of place on the album that I skipped it everytime. I thought it was one of the worst songs Ben had ever written.
It's now been over 5 months since the release date, and it's safe to say that I listen to Former Lives at least once a day. It's grown on me so much that I love it more and more with every spin, and in my opinion it's actually better than the last 3 Death Cab albums. Sure it's not quite the same, this is more intimate/personal and less soaring guitars etc, but as far as longevity and quality of songs this is really, really lovely stuff. I had no idea that I'd get to like this album so much, and even the songs I wasn't so keen on seem to have earned their place on the record and in my heart.
A lot of critics might not agree, but for me Former Lives is one of the top 10 albums of 2012.