Like the haunted galleon depicted on the cover of its debut full-length, the Decemberists' songs -- accordion-cloud sea chanteys, red-sky-at-night laments -- seem to have sailed from some long-abandoned port. The simple, mostly acoustic arrangements complement songwriter Colin Meloy's keenly anachronistic storytelling; you could be hearing his out-of-time tall tales in a ship's hold or around a campfire after Antietam. Meloy's voice sometimes eerily conjures Robyn Hitchcock's, and his lyrics, equally absurdist and impressionistic, also recall Hitchcock, but Castaways and Cutouts never feels like the work of a pirate. It's a more consistently morose record than any of Hitchcock's, and the occasional echo of pedal-steel guitar hints at Meloy's Montana roots. The album's last cut, the interlinked "California One" and "Youth and Beauty Brigade," maintains the picnic-in-the-rain bittersweetness of the preceding nine songs before the chorus changes key and adopts an epic ruefulness, like the Apartments covering "Wish You Were Here." The Decemberists and delicate-voiced Jeff Hanson share a bill that offers a couple of this year's most exciting new prospects.