Nominated for the soon-to-be-announced 2010 Polaris prize (up against Canadian indie rock giants like Broken Social Scene and Tegan and Sara), Owen Pallett stands armed with nothing but virtuosity and a penchant for Dungeons & Dragons themes. And while his previous solo effort, He Poos Clouds, saw him flaunting this knowledge (eight of the 10 tracks corresponded to the eight schools of magic in D&D), Heartland has him setting that aside to tackle more lofty philosophical quandaries. This is a collection of songs from the point of view of Lewis, a farm boy attempting to understand his creator, Owen Pallett. The album is rich with questions about love, faith and fate, and wrought with religious imagery. In the spectacular “Tryst With Mesistopheles,” Lewis proclaims: “I’ve been in love with Owen ever since I heard the strains of Psalm 21.” Still, Pallett manages to avoid being heavy-handed in his opus. “Lewis Takes Action” preserves some thematic levity while simultaneously managing to incorporate a battle with a cockatrice. Heartland has all the soaring orchestral arrangements that have defined Pallett’s earlier work, just assisted now and again by a Dntel-esque trip-hop beat and a more metaphysical vision.