Vampire Weekend (XL)

Proving that, in pop, everything old will eventually become new again, Vampire Weekend won a fair few sales and a fair few more enthusiastic reviews in 2008 by wedding the same guitar lines that inspired Paul Simon’s Graceland to the kind of knowing, elusive lyrics that made Pavement’s name.

Two years later, they’re back with more of the same, but without novelty on their side. How will it play this time around? Unsurprisingly, much like the first: absolutely dandy arrangement, wan singing and pretty ordinary songs.

Strip the jumpy rhythm section and twinkling guitars from Cousins, and there’s basically nothing left; dilute the restless arrangement of Holiday, and you’re left with a nursery rhyme.

None of which has to be a problem, of course; pop history is lined with great records built around lousy songs. But in the case of Contra, as with Vampire Weekend’s debut, it results in an album that, for all its surface sheen, is ultimately nothing but a trifling diversion.