"Strawberry Jam" was disappointing for two reasons: first, it was a poorly recorded facsimile of their far more powerful live show, and second, it was sonically unfocused, as they were transitioning from a guitar-heavy, jam-it-out sound to a quirky, electronic pop sound (with a lot more emphasis on vocals) (and minus one member) and were throwing the kitchen sink onto tape to see what would stick.
"Merriweather Post Pavilion" does away with these problems completely. They simply didn't bother trying to copy their live show to tape, and instead, decided to craft something entirely different, something complimentary to what they've been playing on stage. It's actually more of a follow-up to "Person Pitch" than "Strawberry Jam" -- heavy on the echo-drenched Beach Boys-y vocals and sunny day psych weirdness, and bursting with wild, sparkling synth leads and bumper car bass lines. It's easily their most head-bopping, danceable album. I have to wonder why Caribou didn't make this album first, because it was certainly within his grasp if he'd, say, ditched some of his music's rock elements after dancing his face off one night in the clubs of Cologne.
Pitchfork are already ordaining it the album of the year (come ON guys, it's the FIRST week of January!), but I'm sure it'll be right up there on a lot of people's lists come this time next year.