On November 3, 2005, Alternative Press announced that The Starting Line had left Geffen and was in discussion with other labels. The group was aiming to have another album out by spring 2006. Vasoli had written eight of a potential 12–15 for the next record. The group demoed material a few months afterwards. On January 3, 2006, it was announced that the band had signed to Virgin Records. Virgin president Jason Flom signed the group after watching one of their live performances. In February and March, the group headlined the Screaming Is for Babies tour, with support from Copeland, Gatsbys American Dream, and Cartel. It was reported that the group would begin recording their next album after this tour had finished. From late October to mid December, the band supported The All-American Rejects on their Tournado 2006 tour.
On May 3, 2007, the title track was made available for streaming. "Island" was made available for streaming on May 17. It was released as a single on June 19, before being released to radio a week later. From early July to late August, the band went on the 2007 edition of Warped Tour.Direction was released on July 31. In October and November, the group went on a co-headlining US tour with Paramore. Set Your Goals opened the first half of the tour, while The Almost opened the second half. The second single was "Something Left to Give". "Somebody's Gonna Miss Us" followed in 2009.