Lost and Safe is the third album by The Books. It is in the same style of their previous albums, continuing their rich use of samples as diverse as Raymond Baxter ("That's the picture. You s-you see it for yourself."), W. H. Auden ("This great society is going smash / A culture is no better than its woods", from his poem "Bucolics: II, Woods"), and a reading of Lewis Carroll's poem "Jabberwocky". On "If Not Now, Whenever" Mal Sharpe asks a passerby "How're you doin' today?" Some of the sampled passages are either accompanied or performed elsewhere by guitarist/bassist Nick Zammuto in Sprechstimme. Some of the eclecticism of the samples is owed to their origins in Salvation Army shops.
The Books use samples extensively in this work, as in most of their works. "It Never Changes to Stop" features the sound of admonitions and commands as delivered by an anonymous American disciplinarian. "Venice" samples the bonus track of a 1966 opera record, in which an American reporter describes a Salvador Dalí "happening" in Venice.
Lost and Safe has received very positive reviews from numerous critics and music publications. Allmusic awarded the album 4½ stars out of 5, saying "From the songwriting to the production to the performance, the whole package that the Books present with Lost and Safe works wonderfully and makes for a very rewarding listen."Lost and Safe currently holds a rating of 84 out of a possible 100 (indicating universal acclaim) on Metacritic.com.Wire magazine voted Lost and Safe as the best album of the year in 2005.