Before the exuberant slapdash eclecticism of Gorillaz or the madcap rhythmic musicality of Gnarls Barkley, there was DJ Shadow, an undersung bridger of worlds whose pioneering vision has yet to yield the deserved commercial bounty. Part of the curse of being a ?rst mover is that it’s often hard to catch up to yourself. Indeed, the shadow of this particular DJ’s early work looms large on The Outsider. In contrast to the genius iconoclasm of Entroducing… or the elegant, moody melodicism of Shadow’s last masterpiece The Private Press, his work here seems scattered and gimmicky, even despite a few moments of endearing humor (“Backstage Girl”) and genuine inspiration (“Artifact”). While Shadow’s insistence on alternating wantonly between hip-hop and rock is noble (name another album that features both David Banner and members of Kasabian), for the most part his MCs founder and even his best beats and textures can’t save them. Given the unabashed classics in Shadow’s catalog, The Outsider feels like a palate cleanser between loftier statements.