(Merge Records) In his career recording as Manitoba and Caribou, Dan Snaith has never gone in the same direction twice, yet every journey he takes us on is distinctly in his vehicle. After the gorgeous atmospherics of 2005’s The Milk of Human Kindness, Snaith turned to psychedelic pop on 2007’s Andorra. On Swim, he gives 2/4 time a little more play and sculpts his sonic palette around the avant-disco of artists like Arthur Russell. The results are frequently compelling, particularly on a stretch in the middle of the album that finds Snaith whipping up a stew of bells, harps, flutes, and bass, masterfully shifting the beats from one motif to the next. The major problem with the album is that Snaith’s singing isn’t up to the challenge. He aims for the ghostly tenor of Russell, but his voice isn’t nearly as robust. It’s thin and nasal and offers little presence — which is fine when he’s using it as an instrument, coming and going like it’s running laps on the splintered funk of “Sun.” On tracks like that, his vocals blend in with his other instruments, which he often likes to have flicker like light bulbs or drift like vapor. On the more traditional songs, like “Odessa” and “Found Out,” it presents more of a problem. But, I should add, not so much of a problem that I can’t wait to see what direction Snaith ventures toward next.