We gave it a B+
Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes laid low this year, finally, after a wildly productive run that arguably made him indie rock’s most important figure. Noise Floor (Rarities: 1998-2005), by turns folksy and noisy, demonstrates his appeal. Even his throwaways throb with the sullen-flamboyant drama of druggy, self-involved boys feeling sorry for themselves and the damaged girls who love them — or don’t. And some of the best tracks are collaborations, with peers like M. Ward and Spoon’s Britt Daniel broadening his palette — a good sign for the future.