Label: Chimera Music
The Japan-to-NYC sample mavens' unhinged weirdness and conceptual funk fell out of fashion when they were absent. Their last album Stereo*Type A foraged into bossa nova, metal and rap; it was lots of fun, but the pieces didn't really glue together. Hotel Valentine is very much the opposite, a mature, luscious patchwork of trip-hop and unexpected snatches of recorded ephemera that recalls glory days of Soul Coughing on "Déjà Vu" and the seasick sax-n-bongos shuffle of Tom Waits on "Hotel Valentine." There's even a unifying concept about a hotel involving housekeepers, love and ghosts.