The centerpiece of the album is mandolinist Chris Thile's ambitious four movement suite, "The Blind Leaving the Blind." Thile says the piece was written in part to deal with his divorce of 2004. It was composed over the course of a year and a half using Finale composition software. About 30% of the composition involves some improvisation, "like a jazz lead sheet or a written out fiddle tune." Chris Thile has said that his goal was "to fuse the formal disciplines of jazz or classical composition with the vibrancy of bluegrass or folk music song writing." The remainder of the album was co-written by the entire band.