The songs were recorded at different times, mostly in 2000 and 2001, but some dating back to 1990. "What Would Jesus Do" was recorded live in a small house in Kentucky by Sebadoh member Jason Loewenstein during rehearsals for the band's 1999 release, The Sebadoh, and was co-written by that album's drummer Russ Pollard, who also provided backup vocals.
The album received mixed reviews from critics. Eric Carr of Pitchfork wrote that "some truly fantastic songs can be found here," but that "ultimately there isn't much to redeem Tales from Loobiecore. It slips into a coma before the five-minute mark, and though it shows promise here and there, even a die-hard Lou Barlow fan might consider pulling the plug."  Barlow's subsequent album Emoh, which was released in 2005 under his full name and featured a more polished sound, was seen as Barlow's resurgence among critics.