Rolling Stone (p.69) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[The] affectations are rendered tolerable by Meloy's unmistakable melodic gift....There's a kick in the way song after song masks his darkish vision in elegantly hooky arrangements..."
Rolling Stone (p.105) - Ranked #23 in Rolling Stone's "The Top 50 Albums Of 2006" -- "[W]ith electric guitars, prog-rock bravado and even Seventies funk..."
Spin (p.103) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[Meloy's] verses are sharp and smart....This is the best-sounding Decembrists album to date."
Spin (p.61) - Ranked #11 in Spin's "The 40 Best Albums of 2006" -- "[T]he band's emotive narratives...feel very much here and now."
Entertainment Weekly (p.68) - "Colin Meloy specializes in lurid historical dramas....Several of these studies in heartbreak and homicide rank among his most moving." -- Grade: B+
Q (p.99) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "It's rendered intriguing by a liberated approach that touches on everything from sea shanties to Jewish klezmer music without ever losing sight of the tune."
Uncut (p.73) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[They are] twisting the esoteric into arresting and complex new shapes."
Alternative Press (p.188) - "[S]hrewder minds among us will be right at home with the complex wordplay and tragic love in 'O Valencia!' and the three-part title track, as well as the new wrinkles of prog rock and art-school funk..."
Magnet (p.93) - "THE CRANE WIFE is an admirable experiment, the work of a band approaching the thorny major-label issue by willfully mucking with a proven sound."
Q (Magazine) (p.78) - Ranked #28 in Q's "The 50 Best Albums Of 2007" -- "[With] nods to nu-folk, baroque pop and even '70s prog."