Suave Pavement frontman Steve Malkmus had his nose to the proverbial grindstone since the release of Brighten the Corners in 1997, assisting DC Berman on 1998's excellent Silver Jews American Water release. He concurrently teamed with Silkworm to hardwire an entertaining set of Basement Tapes covers as the Crust Brothers. On Spit on a Stranger's five tracks, Malkmus applies what he's picked up from his experiments, emulating Berman's lo-fi ingenuity on "Harness Your Hopes" and lifting the Band's top-shelf-ordering attitude on "Rooftop Gambler." Though "The Porpoise and the Hand Grenade" sounds slapped together before coffee, "Roll With the Wind" more than makes up for the gyp, making the disc worth the many trips it may take to the record store to get this little marvel in stock. "Spit on a Stranger," the album's first single, finds the band coy and approachable. Some fans may be cautious in the face of renegade Nigel Godrich's production hand, but rather than emasculate the band's signature understated two-chord symphonics, Godrich exploits it, capturing something a bit shaper than Brighten the Corners. A fine and nicely-timed addition to the anyone's rock-and-rubble Pavement collection.