Yo La Tengo is the quintessential indie-rock band. Certainly measured by longevity and overall consistency, no one else comes close, as Prisoners of Love
amply proves over the course of two generous discs. Subtitled A Smattering of Scintillating Senescent Songs 1985-2003, Prisoners
moves seamlessly from the jangly 1985 single "The River of Water" to 1997's signature tune "Autumn Sweater" to the rolling feedback of 1993's "Big Day Coming." Mixing album tracks and singles from throughout the Hoboken band's career, Prisoners
includes plenty of pure pop like "Tom Courtenay" and "Sugarcube," sweet meditations like "The Summer" and "Season of the Shark," and distorted freak-outs like "I Heard You Looking" and "Blue Line Swinger." It also collects anomalies like the profane Sun Ra cover "Nuclear War" and the disco-inflected "You Can Have It All." While conventional wisdom states that Yo La Tengo hit their stride when bassist James McNew joined guitarist Ira Kaplan and drummer Georgia Hubley for 1993's Painful,
this non-chronological set places "Barnaby, Hardly Working" from 1989's President Yo La Tengo
next to 2003's "Little Eyes" with no discernible gap in quality. Prisoners
is essential from start to finish. As a treat for fans, the set is available with a third disc of 16 outtakes and rarities, including five previously unreleased tracks, an early cover of Stevie Nicks's "Dreams," and an excellent remix of "Autumn Sweater" by My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields.