Even in his 40s, Stephen Malkmus is still as skinny as a teenager and as malleable as a Gumby doll. The former Pavement frontman possesses no discernable backbone: When he leans forward during a particularly impassioned solo, his head hangs nearly eye level with his guitar.
Much of the weight that often results from settling down with a wife and a pair of kids never came to Malkmus; neither did the complacency that besets many musicians by middle age. Instead, Malkmus’ solo albums have pushed, often aggressively, against the Pavement template, and never more than on his latest disc, Real Emotional Trash . . .