What can a band do to stay fresh and interesting on their ninth studio album? Well, if you're Trans Am, you keep doing just about what you've always done. The DC outfit's latest, Thing, is almost exactly like any previous Trans Am album; the aural equivalent of treading water. Though the band's flirtations with sexual kitsch, '80s metal, and instrumental R&B are all but gone, and Thing has a darker tone than previous works, they're still making the same funky synth jams ("Naked Singularity" and "Arcadia") and future-prog freak-outs ("Heaven's Gate" and "Interstellar Drift"), with varying results. Most tracks play like one elongated idea and only a few songs sound fully fleshed-out, giving Thing a half-baked, underwhelming vibe.