The Trials of Van Occupanther
Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther
Critic Score
Based on 12 reviews
2006 Ratings: #73 / 607
User Score
Based on 30 ratings
2006 Ratings: #43
July 25, 2006 / Release Date
LP / Format
Bella Union / Label
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midlake.net / Website
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CRITIC REVIEWS

91
A.V. Club

Van Occupanther's spell finally breaks a little more than halfway through its 11 tracks, when the songs begin to feel more fussed-over and conceptual and less organic, but the warmth never fades.

90
musicOMH

Compared variously to The Flaming Lips and Grandaddy, Midlake's take on '70s soft rock is actually better than both.

90
PopMatters

The Trials of Van Occupanther is such a nuanced, finely layered work that Midlake has certainly crafted one of the best releases of 2006.

83
Entertainment Weekly

Led by wispy-voiced singer Tim Smith, Midlake excel at lush, harmony-laden ballads like ”Bandits” and the heart-tugging goodbye song ”You Never Arrived.”

80
Drowned in Sound

A truly delectably odd album of archaic echoes and future-classic choruses that’ll resonate from the next age to ones that no science fiction can inaccurately picture.

80
AllMusic
Midlake might be stuck in the '70s, but they make it sound like the best place on earth.
80
The Guardian

The songwriting is rich, delivering an almost hallucinatory mix of pianos, horns, guitars and painfully wistful reminisces. This could well end up one of 2006's best.

68
Pitchfork

An encouraging but ultimately disappointing contemplation of time's ceaselessness, love's promise, and Harvest-era Neil Young.

60
NOW Magazine
The uniformity of song structure, tone and tempo, though initially captivating, soon becomes monotonous.
40
Tiny Mix Tapes

The Trials of Van Occupanther is a painful disappointment, a shadow of the potential that led this reviewer to hail Midlake as a leading light just two years ago.

Apr 21, 2018
u4ya
72
brings nostalgia
Dec 22, 2017
CheapandLethal
85
Great
Oct 21, 2017
79
It's not hard to find 2000s bands making 1970s-indebted folk rock, or even doing a good job of it (think Saddle Creek), but none of them display quite the specific ambition of Midlake's best-known work. It's a concept album taking place in the 1890s that never grows too precious or willfully weird with its conceit, focusing instead on nuanced emotional exploration of the main character and developing a consistent sound that fits the emotional swells of the narrative. Bonus points for songs that ... read more
Dec 24, 2014
90
Underestimated retro classic album that will still be around in 30 years
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