"I will long to see/All that waits to be known/And all that will never be known."

—"The Core of Nature"

Driving about their hometown in their beat-up blue van, the members of Midlake gladly point out their favorite spots. A modest corner building, they swear, is where one will find the best sushi in North Texas. Another building, a nursing home, is chided because of its supposed heavy-handed religious preaching.

Dylan Hollingsworth
“Nobody’s harder on us than we are.”

HERE: The masking tape removed from Midlake’s soundboard hangs on a drape in the band’s cluttered Denton studio.
RIGHT: For the past two years, drummer McKenzie Smith, guitarists Eric Pulido and Eric Nichelson,
frontman Tim Smith and bassist Paul Alexander have been carefully crafting The Courage of Others.
Dylan Hollingsworth
“Nobody’s harder on us than we are.” HERE: The masking tape removed from Midlake’s soundboard hangs on a drape in the band’s cluttered Denton studio. RIGHT: For the past two years, drummer McKenzie Smith, guitarists Eric Pulido and Eric Nichelson, frontman Tim Smith and bassist Paul Alexander have been carefully crafting The Courage of Others.

As they point out these establishments, in the distance the Corn-Kits factory, perhaps the city's most recognizable landmark, looms as a reminder of Denton's past. The city's own dilapidated state—its once-thriving Fry Street commercial district is all but vacant at this point—too seems an emphatic influence on The Courage of Others' theme of accepting one's lot in life. The downtrodden effects of the economy are visible throughout the city. But, by supporting NX35, its politicians seem to finally be embracing and accepting its musical identity, if only as a begrudging refuge.

That same begrudging tone seems evident in the voices of Midlake's members as they discuss the potential reception of the album they spent the past two years creating. The pressures of marketing the release are cumbersome—but its heaviest lifting has long been over.

The album's fate—however heroic or tragic it may be—is largely out of the band's hands at this point.

"We've already been through the pressure of making the best album we can," Alexander says.

"Our job now," Pulido adds, "is to not screw it up."

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