The Fiery Furnaces have so thoroughly trained their listeners to expect weirdness that it's almost weirder when they're (relatively) straightforward. Not that the band's music has ever been predictable, but from Blueberry Boat onward, it was likely that a Fiery Furnaces song would have hyper-literate lyrics and a sprawling melody embellished with -- and frequently interrupted by -- wild tangents and synth-driven flights of fancy. They took that fragmented sound to such a dazzling extreme on the collaged live album Remember that it looked hard to top, and they don't try to on I'm Going Away. Instead, Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger and company hone their pop instincts, put the focus on their flair for hooks and melodies, and turn in some of their most direct and tuneful songs since Gallowsbird's Bark. More than a few of I'm Going Away's tracks nod to the band's early days: the title track is an arty rave-up that turns a traditional song into anything but, much like the band did with "Single Again" back in the day; the jaunty "Charmaine Champagne," like most of Gallowsbird's best moments, allows Eleanor's engaging voice to lead the way over a fist-shaking, toe-tapping beat. The Furnaces also sound more organic than they have in some time, with the intimate production dominated by piano and Rhodes suggesting '70s sitcom music (they even name-checked Bob James' wry theme song for the classic TV series Taxi as inspiration in the album's press release). Those keyboards add some of that bittersweet feel to "The End Is Near," a world-weary ballad with a finality that the Friedbergers' dual vocals only soften a little, and "Lost at Sea," a piece of classic-sounding piano pop with a buoyant coda. While it's easy to read I'm Going Away's simpler, mellower sound as a reaction to the maximalist experiments of Blueberry Boat through Widow City, The Fiery Furnaces still find ways to keep listeners' ears on their figurative toes: "Drive to Dallas" is positively elastic, starting with a wistful, stretched-out melody that snaps into a flurry of activity, while "Even in the Rain" takes its almost ridiculously catchy melody on some detours with odd key changes and tempo shifts. The Fiery Furnaces do tiptoe onto the elaborate ground they've already covered on I'm Going Away's second half with "Staring at the Steeple"'s sinister rock and jazzy segues and "Keep Me in the Dark"'s globe-trotting intrigue, but their muscular playing keeps things more grounded than they've been in the past. Ironically enough, these songs feel more "live" than Remember did, especially on the "Charmaine Champagne" reprise "Cups & Punches" and rousing finale "Take Me Round Again," both of which add to the album's indie rock revue feel. I'm Going Away is a departure that fits in with the rest of The Fiery Furnaces' work, and it's only fitting that a band this creative can pull something like that off.