It's harder to write happy than unhappy. That's the problem with the final album in Eels' trilogy about dissolution, heartbreak and redemption that was released over the past 14 months. Misanthropic frontman Mark Oliver Everett, who's built his entire career around dispirited paeans, simply isn't equipped for the task. Most Eels albums focus on Everett's gruff and glum delivery over nimble arrangements blooming with understated elegance. While he makes effective use of typical self-deprecation on Tomorrow Morning, he can't quite nail a balanced mix of wry optimism and befuddled joy. Songs like "The Man," which imagines a neighborhood of Frank Capra extras offering high-fives, come off just a little self-conscious and unconvincing. The arrangements, still within Everett's usual palette, are odder now and peculiarly rhythmic, driven by weird synth flourishes and electronic beats. It's an admirable out-of-character attempt that, aside from a few moments, never hits its stride.
Chris Parker writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to email@example.com.