I'll remember Pitchfork Music Festival this year for the great times with friends I too rarely see and the heat (as a South Floridian I thought I could deal with humidity in every state in the Union) more than the performances, although most of them were serviceable.
Surprises: the Dirty Projectors, an act which sounded tinny and altogether too comfortable with ethereality on record, created a compelling mix of the Raincoats meets Cocteau Twins.
Disappointments: Jarvis Cocker, running through songs from a solo album which was at best Not Bad; the frantic Caribou need to learn that sex isn't all climax, especially if the foreplay isn't particularly memorable; it wasn't too difficult for Dinosaur Jr's music to get tangled in J. Mascis' hair.
Highlights: No other act reveled in its newfound celebrity like the Hold Steady. After stellar reviews and their biggest sales to date, Craig Finn acted like the born frontman he was. What a relief to see a child of indie who makes no bones about converting the biggest audiences he can find. "Sequestered in Memphis" sounded like I'd been hearing it since 1983; Vampire Weekend played mesmerizing versions of "I Stand Corrected" and a new track that outdid Animal Collective in Mupppets-style animal grunts; King Khan and the Shrines' unabashed fun and embrace of histrionics shone through the mud and grime; No Age didn't waste a note; neither did Ghostface and Raekwon, who were models of professionalism in a set that incorporated everything from "C.R.E.A.M." to "We Celebrate."
Coitus interruptus: Cut Copy, who thanks to an airport delay and a curfew only played about 20 minutes. Although I didn't catch them, the excitement for their aborted set eclipsed Spoon's (perfectly fine) performance.