I just listened to the interview Thomas did with WNYC yesterday, which was very good, but I was a little disappointed by Thomas' answer to the question of if he is working on another album. He said something about there being "no unit of currency" now, meaning something to the effect that he doesn't need to release a whole album. Rather, he can release a song here or there on his website. Offer remixes, etc. I'm paraphrasing greatly here, so if I miss Thomas' intent at all, I apologize. But what this reminded me of was what Todd Rundgren has done with offering music over his website, and also Neal Morse (formerly from Spock's Beard and Transatlantic) is doing something similar with a subscription to CDs full of odds & ends, although he's prolific with his regular albums as well.
Both of these "plans" have seemed very unsatisfactory to me, and I think the whole idea of of trying to move away from the paradigm of the album of songs is misguided. It wouldn't work with a novelist, or a director, or a playwright, and I don't think it will ever really work with a musician either. Am I the only one who never bought into the whole idea of the E-book? I want to be able to find a book mouldering on my shelves decades from now, long after I thought I'd lost interest in it. I don't want to find out the format is no longer supported. Not that I don't download, rip, and edit like a madman when I need to!
Frankly, whenever I hear a musician mention that there's a live version of a song available for download on his website, or something similar, I immediately assume that if I download the song I'll eventually lose track of where it is on my various PCs, MP3 players, etc. and I think of it as a very transitory proposition. As someone who frequently fetishizes objects (in a good way!), I'm sure Thomas shares this opinion to some degree.
In short, I vote for a full album of songs, or at the very least an EP. But I'd like it be something we can purchase and have shipped to us -- not just a bunch of ones and zeros. If Thomas just doesn't have a full album in him, or if he needs another five years to write all the songs, I can deal with it. Just in case Thomas is reading this.