6. Embryonic (2009)
Embryonic feels like a return to form, despite the band's never having sounded quite like this before. Once again a four-piece with the addition of Kliph Scurlock -- former Lips roadie and touring drummer -- the boys drop all pretense of focus. It's an album of throbbing, screaming, goony psych, like a righteous combination of Sabbath and Les Rallizes Dénudés. Perhaps the Lips realized that songs needn't be streamlined to connect with audiences, or perhaps Coyne and Ivins were retconning the start of their career with a sprawling psych-rock opus instead of plains-fried cowpunk.
This is where the band picked up its current penchant for guests: MGMT and mathematician Dr. Thorsten Wormann each make an appearance, and Karen O crops up three times. One of her appearances, the literally phoned-in "I Can Be A Frog," hints at a future direction. While perhaps the most embarrassing thing in the Lips' catalog -- even more so due to its appearance on an album as nuts as this -- it begs the question: When is the children's album coming? It's only a matter of time, surely.