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Modest Mouse Pounds The 'Dashboard'

“Dashboard,” the first single from Modest Mouse’s upcoming Epic album ” We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank ,” will hit U.S. radio outlets Jan. 16, Billboard.com has learned. A poor quality version of the cut, which was roadtested during the band’s fall shows in Los Angeles, New York and London, has already leaked online.

Among the other tracks tipped for inclusion on the album, which is due in March and introduces former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr into the Modest Mouse fold, include the more sedate “Fire It Up” (sample lyric: “even if we knew which way to head, still we probably wouldn’t go”), the swampy “Steaming Genius” and the multi-faceted “Parting of the Sensories,” which features violin and ukulele.

The Shins’ James Mercer guests on three tracks: “We’ve Got Everything,” the tight rocker “Florida” and “Missed the Boat,” which is somewhat reminiscent of “3rd Planet,” the opening track on Modest Mouse’s 2000 Epic debut “The Moon & Antarctica.”

The album’s most unusual moment comes on “Spitting Venom,” and eight-and-a-half-minute epic that blooms from a sleepy acoustic intro into a full on psychedelic jam. Modest Mouse is in the midst of a short Australian tour that plays Sydney tonight (Jan. 3) and Busselton on Saturday. Dates for the rest of 2007 have yet to be announced.