This is the Grateful Dead's last great studio album. But, they only put out 4 studio albums after this (5 if you include the wild Infared Roses). The next year's follow up, Shakedown Street, is a lot of fun, but it isn't a masterpiece. Another good release from late in their career is In The Dark, from 1987. Go To Heaven from 1981 is one of the worst Dead albums, and 1989's Built To Last, which was the last studio album is so-so.
The funny thing about this album is that it was a major come back for the Dead. After all, they hadn't released a studio album for over two years, since Blues for Allah. Back in the sixties and seventies, groups would release one or two ablums a year. If a group went more than a year without releasing a album, it was a shock and it was assumed the group had disbanded. Now, groups go 4 to 7 years between albums.
Some people don't like Terrapin Station, saying something is lacking. At 36 minutes, it is relatively short for a Dead album. Even though it is short, it is strong throughout. There isn't a weak track on the album. Maybe people don't like it because there is only one Garcia track (Terrapin Station) on the whole ablum, and this album features more of Bob Weir. But, this is Weir's best performance outside of Wake of The Flood.
The opening track, Estimated Profit, is one of the best and most powerful songs the Dead have ever performed. There is also an extremely good song from Phil Lesh, Passenger.
In the later years of the Dead (after 1975), they would revisit old classics. On this album they update Dancing In the Streets, and it comes off successfully. Bob Weir also does a very nice job on a traditional song, Samson and Delihah. Probably the best Donna Godcheaux song is featured on this album, Sunrise.
The title track, Terrapin Station, is a throw back to the English progressive rock movement. It is most reminiscent of Uriah Heep's Salisbury. It is a 16 minute track of tales told by traveling minstrels. There is a lot of synthesizer in the background, and an orchetra back up. It is the one song by the Grateful Dead that is longer on the studio album than it is in any live version. Most live versions are between 8 to 11 minutes. I haven't heard a live version of Terrapin Station yet that does the song any justice. Terrapin Station, is actually one of the most boring things the Dead ever does in concert. Note that Bruce Hornsby also does this song on his live album, but it just sounds like an excerpt, yanked out of the middle of the song. All these live versions are quite a contrast from this excellent studio track.