This album was inspired by Tim Kasher's failed relationship and bitter divorce from his first wife Kim in 2000. The name shows the concept of the album as a novena, a Catholic devotion consisting of nine separate days of prayers, reflecting the album's nine tracks. The first track, "A Dim Entrance", depicts a character who is in the middle of a failing relationship and exhausted from trying to save it (Send me to bed, And I fall asleep / To an overwhelming sad). The remaining tracks are all introspective reflections into the relationship of the main character and his evaluation of the relationship. "The Competition" provides the listener with an overview of the relationship, from beginning to what will ultimately be the end. The final song, "A Golden Exit" describes the conversation between the main character and his estranged lover, ending the relationship and looking forward to a bright, new beginning for both people (Maybe we'll wake up with golden wings, Maybe we'll get wings / anything to set us free).