Midlake kick of their contribution to the Late Night Tales compilation series with tracks from the cream of the UK folk scene of the 1960s and 1970s including the likes of Steeleye Span’s ‘The Blacksmith’, Fairport Convention’s ‘Genesis Hall’, the short-lived Bread, Love And Dreams (‘Time’s The Thief’) and the equally obscure (though apparently now reformed) Comus with ‘Diana’.
Scott Walker’s ‘Copenhagen’ lends some gravitas to things before the compilers wade in with the set’s trademark cover (in this instance a version of Black Sabbath’s ‘Am I Going Insane?’) at which point the selections take a more modern route with inclusions from Bjork (‘Unravel’) and Beach House (‘Silver Soul’) before once more returning to folk with the unmistakable fragility of Sandy Denny singing ‘Carnival’.
With ‘Christine’s Tune’ from The Flying Burrito Brothers the tempo of the release picks up somewhat but, as this isn’t a set that’s been selected with a late night of wildness in mind, things chill out straight after with Jan Duindam (we’re into seventies Dutch folk territory now) and ‘Happiness & Tears’ after which there’s a sprinkling of Phil Spector-like pop on the folk with Twice As Much (featuring Vashti Bunyan) contributing ‘Coldest Night Of The Year’.
Nico enunciates her way through ‘These Days’ as the end of the disc comes into view before The Band plod through ‘Whispering Pines’. Bringing up the rear comes Rodriguez (M. Ward’s first band) with ‘Crucify Your Mind’. This edition’s spoken word outro comes from Will Self reading Part 4 of his story The Happy Detective in a selection of amusing American accents. Parts 1 to 3 sound worth tracking down on the strength of this two and a half minute segment (on the selections by Groove Armada, Snow Patrol & The Cinematic Orchestra respectively). However, otherwise this is a pretty lacklustre bunch of tunes which generally lose any individual potency through association with each other and you’ll be lucky to get all the way through should you actually put them on after or even during a late night. You won’t even have that annoying reminder that you’re listening to a promo popping up every so often to keep you awake.