Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Thoughtfully added complexities and musicality, like the horns and honky-tonk pianos that accent 'Army of Ancients,' bring Dr. Dog's now-familiar style to a new level of maturity and prove it's not just destiny bringing the band its success
  2. Fate still manages to be a master class in illusory "good" songwriting. The bulk of it is so fenced into classicist templates-- chamber-y pop meets maximum R&B with the occasional smidge of "tasteful" gospel/parlour games ("Hang On") that, even when merely competent, it can still win over those unimpressed with all that punk and hip-hop riff raff of the past three decades.
  3. So instantly pleasing, the trickery is transparent, a hook to keep listening until the content of Toby Leaman and Scott McMicken’s songs makes itself known.
  4. Simply put, Fate is a refreshment of the sound that has been missing for so long.
  5. 70
    Even as they take on the album title's potentially heavy theme, two vocalists sing with wide-open smiles, and they toss in new-wave beats alongside the saloon pianos and tube-amp guitars. [Aug 2008, p.84]
  6. The sound effects that link the songs and clumsy tape edits seem a tad forced,and some of the titles and lyrical themes seem recycled from We All Belong. That being said, Fate is still a thoroughly enjoyable album from a fine band.
  7. 70
    Though Fate's sepia sweetness and the band's ever-improving instrumental ingenuity (see 'em live!) can't mask a vaguely troubling lack of original ideas, Dr. Dog wears the vintage look amiably well.
  8. Fate feels less like a straight tribute to Dr. Dog's elders and more like a finely tuned collage.
  9. With such impeccable raw materials, it's inevitable that several songs here are irresistible, notably Fate and The Old Days, the former a trembling love song, the latter a clattering hoe-down. Even so, a little more idiosyncrasy wouldn't go amiss.
  10. Unfortunately, it's also phenomenally uninteresting. That isn't to say that the album is bad. Put it on at a low-key party and nobody will complain--but they probably won't ask you what it is either.
  11. Dr. Dog evolves impressively with each album but still promises more than Fate delivers.
  12. Strict modernists may chafe at the band's unapologetically backward-glancing aesthetic, but the rest should happily succumb to the shaggy charm of Fate's easy-like-Sunday-morning ramblings.
  13. Ultimately, this is a winner and though it may not offer the new, revelatory sounds and styles that some were hoping, in the end it wins out because of its heart.
  14. Highlights of Fate coming back 'round one last time give satisfying closure, but also tease what's coming when it's inevitably cued up again.
  15. The Philadelphia group's fifth full-length release has a musical richness and depth of songwriting that weren't fully present on Dr. Dog's somewhat less-focused earlier music, though there were hints on "Easy Beat" in 2005 and "We All Belong" in 2007.
  16. For now, it looks like Dr. Dog will stick to their sunny, over-produced pop songs, finding safe ground, pitching tent, and making camp for the night.
  17. Fate exposes the larger problem with Dr. Dog’s catalog -- namely, that the band have become so comfortable where they are that they are content to merely play to type.
  18. 'From' is catchy, but it also involves the phrase "choo-choo train," which no one above kindergarten age should have to sing. Still, it's adult and musically complex enough to pick up the slack.
  19. Under The Radar
    Dr. Dog wear their influences on their sleeves. They also don’t seem particularly concerned about being the flavor of the week. These two things seem to rub a lot of reviewers the wrong way, and certainly, this album is more of the same. But it’s the most confident, complete outing since "Easy Beat." [Summer 2008]
  20. Mojo
    With Fate, Dr. Dog have begun to deliever the sort of super-confident songs that, up until now, have proved frustratingly out of reach. [Sep 2008, p.108]
  21. Alternative Press
    Whether or not Dr. Dog can duly revered based on their own merits remains to be seen, but in the meantime, they've got a ringer on their hands. [Aug 2008, p.170]
  22. Uncut
    Dr. Dog have stepped up to the plate for the fifth album and hits a homer. [Sep 2008, p.88]
  23. Filter
    What Dr. Dog and its principal songwriters McMicken and Toby Leaman have done is carry on a tradition of soulful writing and musicianship. [Summer, 2008, p.90]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 26 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 14
  2. Negative: 1 out of 14
  1. EliC
    Apr 8, 2009
    Well, after loving their first two albums, I was very disappointed to learn that Dr. Dog have now discovered computerized pitch correction. Well, after loving their first two albums, I was very disappointed to learn that Dr. Dog have now discovered computerized pitch correction. (And they seem the enjoy using it. A lot.) Gone are the realistic lazy harmonies of their previous releases that really sounded like there were 3 guys right in the room with you, trying their best to hit the notes, and coming just close enough to make it work. Listening to "Fate" is more like a computer is in the room with you, synthesizing artificially-perfect vocals with perfectly-tracked drums. The sound is entirely too polished to make the whole vintage thing work. Tube amps are appropriate. Teen-pop production sparkle is like, so not. The songwriting lacks something as well. I'd never wanted to skip a Dr. Dog song before this album. Full Review »
  2. krinklykrinkles
    Feb 17, 2009
    Solid album. just short of perfect. probably the best underrated band out today.
  3. KatieS
    Dec 18, 2008
    I effing love this album... I don't rarely disagree with so many critics, but I think anyone who rated this below an 8 may need to check I effing love this album... I don't rarely disagree with so many critics, but I think anyone who rated this below an 8 may need to check his/her blood pressure. It's an album that feels good to listen to every.... single.... time you put it on. Enough already, Pitchfork. This is brilliant. Full Review »