My Morning Jacket's fourth full-length outing, Z, marked significant changes for the Louisville, Kentucky-based band. Prior to the album's recording, MMJ lost and replaced two of its original members. In addition, the group left the comfort zone of its hometown for Z's sessions, opting for studio work in upstate New York with veteran British producer John Leckie. Fortunately, these shifting elements seem to have reinvigorated the ensemble, resulting in what may be its most confident and consistent record. On Z, singer/guitarist Jim James widens what was already an expansive sound by moving MMJ's aesthetic away from its alt-country roots and forward into further genre-melding explorations. As always, the songs here hinge on James's plaintive, echo-laden vocals, as revealed on the atmospheric, dub-like opener, "Wordless Chorus." The group also ventures into reggae/power-pop territory with the wonderfully catchy "Off the Record," and works into one of its signature guitar-heavy frenzies with the surging "Anytime." While IT STILL MOVES was My Morning Jacket's breakthrough record, Z solidifies its status as one of America's most inventive and formidable rock bands.