“Sometimes the bad guys come out on top /
Sometimes the good guys lose” goes the first line of Yo La Tengo’s first album in three years (the band’s standard lag time since 1997). But even without the words that follow — “We try not to lose our hearts / Not to lose our minds” — Yo La Tengo eases the sting of one-chord opener “Ohm” with Georgia Hubley’s steady, uncomplicated drumbeat, Ira Kaplan’s groaning and joyous guitar solo, and a comforting murmur shared by both. Most of “Fade” is characterized by the warmth of modesty that has been Yo La Tengo’s stock in trade for two decades now, with soft atmospherics giving songs like “Is That Enough” and “I’ll Be Around” (with its easy, percolating bass) a quiet, deadpan grace reminiscent of “The Velvet Underground.” “Fade” isn’t a dramatic reinvention, or even necessarily any progression at all, just Yo La Tengo not needing to be anyone else. (Out now)
Yo La Tengo performs at the Paradise on Feb. 13.