Inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2005, the Tragically Hip continue their brand of off-kilter power rock on the substantial World Container. Released almost exactly 20 years since their debut, the new effort finds the band sticking to a formula of straddling the line between collegiate and adult rock with a little roots thrown in for good measure. Although World Container features the cleanest production of the Hip's career (care of Bob Rock), it simply isn't a far jump from 1987's "Blow at High Dough" to "You're Not the Ocean" included here.
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Singer Gordon Downie still sounds like a mutant cross between Bono and Fred Schneider while dual guitarists Paul Langlois and Rob Baker provide much of the band's incessant drive and spunk. Song titles such as "The Lonely End of the Rink" and "Last Night I Dreamed You Didn't Like Me" would suggest a mopey self-absorption a la the Smiths, but the Tragically Hip are nothing if not fun, and there is a definite raw edge to many of the new tunes. Perhaps they could be faulted for the negligible rate of growth, but World Container does an admirable job of offering folks nearing middle age a clear window into their undergrad memories.