On Chutes Too Narrow, The Shins' follow-up, Mercer and his bandmates wisely extend their own glorious routine, proffering more of what made World go 'round. And still it sounds fresh, even when Mercer recycles his melodies, as he does on "Gone for Good," a bouncy acoustic ballad sure to be the sweetheart of any hipster-enclave rodeo. (Like Destroyer mastermind Dan Bejar, with whom he should definitely form a side project, Mercer favors tricky minor-to-major vocal lines that habitually reference themselves -- and old Zombies songs.) I suppose you could attribute that continued novelty to the modest sophomore-album sonics the band prefers: wide-screen guitar roar in opener "Kissing the Lipless," a music-hall bass line in "Saint Simon," mod-soul swagger in "Turn a Square." But since The Shins recorded Chutes in Mercer's new Portland basement and haven't made a grab at drive-time lucidity -- "I was just bony hands as cold as a winter pole," Mercer sings in "Pink Bullets," which has to have been the name of a Pavement song -- I'm not betting on it. It more likely has something to do with the rare chemistry of the right shaggy guys with the right guitars; if history disagrees, I can't explain it any more than I can stop listening.