Jad Fair and his brother, David, made their debut as Half Japanese 36 years ago and have released 13 studio albums since, the last in 2001. Their songs mimic life: They're odd, jarring and strangely hopeful, occasionally hard to follow but sometimes utter nonsense. Jad's nasal voice is an acquired taste, stuck somewhere between John S. Hall's manic speak-sing and Tiny Tim's helium trill. But the idiosyncratic vocals work within the context of Fair's nutty lo-fi naf-punk. His lyrics range from humorously unabashed sci-fi meditations to straight-faced bluster on "Last Straw" and the comic "My Sordid Past," which opens over a slinky jazz-punk groove: "I was a male prostitute for the FBI/ Your sister paid me $480." Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum plucked them out of semi-retirement (they play annually in Westminster, Md.) for 2012's All Tomorrow's Parties festival. After some tour dates this month, they'll start recording a new Half Japanese album.