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Call it what you will—slo-core, sad-core, mope rock, utter crap—but the genre known for clipping the legs out from under a song and forcing it to crawl has stumbled across a deliciously simple means of expressing depression. But as with the adherents of any forced aesthetic, the quality of the acts assigned to the movement varies widely: The Red House Painters have paced the majority of their songs at turtlelike tempos and have still managed to make five distinct albums, while Codeine seemed to be running out of ideas after its first. One of the most celebrated slo/sad-core bands is Low, an outfit that leaves enough ambient space between its notes to accommodate a hard-charging, boot-scooting line of Dom DeLuise, Luciano Pavarotti, and Green Bay Packer Gilbert Brown. But with such willful tempos there often comes an artifice that is hard to swallow. The Red House Painters rise above it thanks to the sheer talent of lead moper Mark Kozelek. But Low often falls victim to its own lack of attack. The absence of outward emotional engagement in the Duluth, Minn., trio’s music acts like a test, challenging the listener to track down any feeling at all. Low’s new mini-album, Songs for a Dead Pilot, sounds like the stopgap, home-recorded release it is. When the group’s somnolence overwhelms its artistry (as on “Will the Night,” which is mere reverb posing as song, and the 13-minute minimalist snoozer “Born by the Wires”), the result is excruciatingly boring. But “Condescend” and “Be There” both feature heartfelt music and lyrics that look outside themselves for a moment. It’s a moment the members of Low should consider dragging out at least as long as it takes for them to make a chord change.—Christopher Porter