On his first solo effort, Field Manual, Chris Walla doesn’t step far from the deliberate, mid-tempo indie pop Death Cab for Cutie fans have come to count on. Those who believe Ben Gibbard is Death Cab for Cutie’s main creative force only need listen to Field Manual’s 12 tracks to ascertain Walla’s production skills, arranging talent and pop smarts.

While the music doesn’t stray from expectations, Walla’s lyrics often target intentions and convictions as much as sentiment and emotional response. Throughout, Walla delivers his mostly moody pop with cellophane-wrapped vocals that sometimes glide beneath the seamlessly melodic material.

Walla bumps the pace up with catchy “Geometry &c.” and raucous “The Score,” which combine a national breakdown with a relationship meltdown.

Grade: B

Field Manual is currently available.