After their outstanding 2002 release, Behind the Music, I awaited the follow-up from these Swedish pop-psychedelic rockers with the anticipation of a bargain shopper waiting for the mall to open the day after Christmas. Although Origin Vol. 1 is in many ways a solid album, it lacks the magic of the band’s earlier material, and didn’t really take me anywhere special. It’s like our bargain shopper finding only the usual Gap-ware – many things are cute and nice, but few are treasures.

Among the exceptions is "Lone Summer Dream," a bright, warm, textured pop-rock song, complete with a sunny Partridge Family background ("Ba-Ba-Bas") and handclaps that epitomize T.S.O.O.L. at their best. It’s the one that should have been selected as a single (rather than the fast but dull "Bigtime"). "Wheels of Boredom" is a mellow, mid-tempo driving song, while "Song for the Others" is a slower, echo-y, keyboard-based piece with acoustic touches that has an overall feeling reminiscent of the Flaming Lips’ "Do You Realize?"

Jane Birkin, the still-hot sex kitten of outlawed ’60s French songs ("Je t’aime moi non plus") steps in for backing vocals on "Midnight Children," a slow, fun, treat-of-a-duet in the mood of early Wilco or perhaps even Nick Cave.

The disc comes with two bonus tracks, 14 songs altogether; half of those being striking and two or three that are truly special.

Grade: B

Origin Vol. 1 is currently available.