Transcendental Youth is the 14th studio album by the Mountain Goats. The album focuses on outcasts, recluses, the mentally ill, and others struggling in ordinary society. The album is loosely unified around a group of people living in Washington state. At least one character is confirmed to be recurring from All Hail West Texas, an earlier album.
Several songs were performed in concert with a capella quartet Anonymous 4 and featured arrangements by long-time friend Owen Pallett. However, Anonymous 4 and Owen Pallett do not appear on the official studio album. This is the first Mountain Goats album to prominently feature a horn section, contributed and arranged by fellow musician Matthew E. White, who opened for the band on their 2012 tour.
The first 1,000 preorders of the album came with a bonus 7", containing demos for the songs "Steal Smoked Fish" on Side A, and "In the Shadow of the Western Hills," which was originally written for the album, on Side B.