Death Cab for Cutie: Directions

Atlantic Records

The ambitious goal of Directions is to present 11 “short films” as a companion piece to Death Cab for Cutie’s Plans album. Some of them do soar far above traditional music-video fare, though just as many don’t; the clip for “What Sarah Said,” the album’s most moving song, is ruined by emo-relationship melodrama. The best films are those that don’t take themselves too seriously. In “Summer Skin,” cute kids play downbeat office dwellers, and “Someday You Will Be Loved,” with an animated heart being destroyed and repaired, manages to be poignant without pretension. The big winner here is “Crooked Teeth,” a brilliant stop-motion piece that recasts the band as a pirate-robot-dragon rock trio and manages to remake the song’s original plot into three distinct narratives in three minutes.