The lo-fi rock quintet Midlake were formed in Denton, Texas, in 2000 by a group of musicians who had attended the North Texas School of Music together: Paul Alexander (bass, keyboards), Eric Nichelson (keyboards, guitar), Eric Pulido (guitar, keyboards, background vocals), Tim Smith (vocals, keyboards, guitar), and Mckenzie Smith (drums). They issued their own EP, Milkmaid Grand Army, in 2001, and sold 1,000 copies at their Texas gigs. They attracted the attention of Simon Raymonde, who signed them to his Bella Union label in the U.K., leading to European concerts and the recording of their first full-length album, Bamnan and Slivercork, which was released in July 2004. For their next album, Midlake changed gears and moved away from the psychedelic leanings of their debut toward a more '70s-influenced sound. Released in 2006, The Trials of Van Occupanther featured the same lineup and a sound reminiscent of harmony-rich soft rock bands like America and Laurel Canyon troubadours like Neil Young and Gene Clark. The band stopped touring the following year to begin work on a new album. The resulting LP, The Courage of Others, arrived in February 2010.