Join Us is the 15th studio album from the rock band They Might Be Giants, released on July 19, 2011. It is the first non-children's album from the band since The Else in 2007. Hot off the success of Here Comes Science, the band wanted to return to their "insane" sound of the 1980s before recording began. Flansburgh commented on the album concept, in a November 2008 interview with Fredericksburg.com, stating: "I think [for] this next rock album, my ambition for it is to blend more of the home-recording techniques that we presented in the '80s with modern sounds. I'd like to make a more insane-sounding record, to be perfectly honest." In the beginning of the recording of Join Us, TMBG experimented with new musical directions. Flansburgh commented that some of the early songs sounded like "Spike Jones and Kraftwerk falling down the staircase together." However, many of the early songs recorded during the Join Us sessions were eventually scrapped, with the album primarily consisting of those songs that were recorded toward the latter half. In an interview with The A.V. Club, Flansburgh commented, "We probably recorded 30 songs for this album, and the songs that are on album are basically the last 15 or so. There were so many strange misfires at the beginning, just the most mutant songs." Some of the songs that were left off Join Us were later completed and released on the rarities compilation Album Raises New And Troubling Questions.
Recording began in March 2009, according to a July 2009 interview with Billboard, wherein John Flansburgh also mentioned that eight songs had already been recorded. In June 2010, one track from the upcoming album, "Three Might Be Duende" was partially released as a 13-second clip from the recording studio on YouTube. In addition to the band, long-time producer Pat Dillett and engineers Yukihiro Takahashi (The Else) and Greg Thompson can be seen in the studio. A similar clip for the rhythm section tracking of "Canajoharie" was released in July, though neither is currently available on the band's YouTube channel. Both of those songs were played live occasionally during the band's fall 2010 tour. An incomplete track listing composed of fourteen songs was revealed on Pitchfork.com on April 5. The track list was updated to include four more ("Canajoharie," "Celebration," "Dog Walker," and "Spoiler Alert") on the band's Facebook page on April 26.
Join Us has garnered fairly positive reviews from critics. It debuted at No. 32 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and No. 8 on both the Billboard Rock Albums and Billboard Alternative Albums charts. Join Us also debuted at No. 8 on both the Billboard Rock and Billboard Alternative charts. It disappeared from the charts the following week. Join Us appeared at No. 20 on the CMJ Radio 200 on July 25, 2011. It climbed to No. 11 on August 2 and continued its ascension, reaching No. 5 on August 23. To date, it has spent 20 weeks that chart.
Two de facto singles emerged: "Can't Keep Johnny Down", which was released as a free MP3 on Pitchfork's website on April 5, as well as a promotional CD, and "You Probably Get That A Lot", which was promotionally issued in the UK. Music videos were produced for both songs, the former starring Rip Torn, although both tracks failed to chart. Music videos featuring the band were also produced for "Spoiler Alert" and "Cloisonné". The music video for "When Will You Die", which featured the construction of a life-size monster hearse by the Office of Paul Sahre, went viral and achieved over 100,000 views total—more than 25,000 in just one month. The artwork for Join Us was also very well-received, and Sahre was nominated for a 2012 Design of the Year Award from the Design Museum for its production.