Label: Asthmatic Kitty
Leave it to Sufjan to release a lush, expansive, 21-track collection of leftovers from his lush, expansive, 22-track Illinois. Like everything associated with Sufjan (even his name), this album is an exquisite juxtaposition of the so-familiar-it's-almost-cliche and the fascinatingly quirky. That trademark Midwest aesthetic -- band-room-plus-banjo instrumentation and a folksy esotericism -- is omnipresent, even as Avalanche takes off in some pretty distinctive directions (see the minimalist "Kaskaskia River"). Also included are four new versions of "Chicago," each more compelling than the last.