Your Weekly Pop Culture Mandate: Oct 11

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Five things you must not miss this week, including new albums for Sufjan and Belle & Sebastian, and the end to another season of Mad Men.

MUSIC Sufjan Stevens, The Age of Adz

Sufjan Stevens, The Age of Adz

After a five year gap between records (during which he released nothing but an orchestral ode to a highway, The BQE) Sufjan Stevens finally returns tomorrow with The Age of Adz. It’s full of heavy electronic beats and yes, autotuned vocals – a far cry from 2005's Illinois   – but it's just as epic as anything he's ever released and a refreshing change of pace. And there's nothing precious about it. October 12

MUSIC Belle & Sebastian, Write About Love

Belle & Sebastian, Write About Love

On Write About Love, their first album in four years, the beloved, Scottish twee-poppers sing about a subject they know all too well. (Love is pretty much all they’ve been writing about for the last fifteen years.) This time, the band gets a little help from guest vocalists Norah Jones and Oscar-nominated actress Carey Mulligan (An Education). But all the guest stars aside, we'd still be excited for this new batch of intimate, melancholy tunes. October 12

BOOKS Mike Birbiglia, Sleepwalk With Me

Mike Birbiglia, Sleepwalk With Me

In his one-man stage show Sleepwalk With Me, comedian Mike Birbiglia recounts his battles with love, maturity and yes, sleepwalking. Now he shares the same stories in his eponymous memoir. With his offbeat humor and remarkable candor, he makes the story about that girl you made out with when you were thirteen both funny and insightful. October 12

TELEVISION Mad Men, Season Finale

Mad Men

It's been quite the tumultuous year for Don Draper. He's in the midst of a business and an identity crisis; both the man and his advertising agency seem on the brink of collapse. And that’s not to mention all the other looming questions: did Joan really get an abortion? What will become of Dr. Faye? What rebellious stunt will precocious Sally pull next?  This week we'll find out how it all wraps up and then impatiently wait another nine months for its return. October 17

MUSIC Antony and the Johnsons, Swanlight

Antony and the Johnsons, Swanlight

Antony and the Johnsons' Swanlights must be their most haunting album yet (and if you've ever listened to the band, you know that's saying something). The band's fourth album finds singer Antony Hegarty at his most vulnerable. His trembling, ethereal vocals pretty much guarantee we'll listen to anything the androgynous troubadour has to sing. But this effort is especially beautiful, given its emotional heft. October 12