Derek E. Miller's rough demos gained the attention of Spike Jonze, and M.I.A. Miller stated that the ensuing positive feedback and his "dream collaboration" working with M.I.A. in her studio on the album Maya (2010) gave him the confidence to do the Treats record without opting for a co-producer. Miller worked with M.I.A. on the track "Meds and Feds" in 2009, following which she signed the group to her label N.E.E.T. Recordings. Vocalist Alexis Krauss said of M.I.A.: "It's really exciting to have her in our court and be able to work with her. At this point it's more about being part of a creative community and the day-to-day running of the business is pretty much Mom + Pop's job. It's the fact that she had interest in us literally before anyone else cared at all which definitely boosted our confidence."
Krauss spoke of her enjoyment at the collaborative nature of the album making process with Miller, telling Drowned in Sound, "When we got into the studio we began collaborating more. There's a few tracks on the album—'Tell Em', 'Riot Rhythms', 'Tell the Heart' [sic]—which definitely became more collaborative in terms of me doing more work on melodies, harmonies and we plan on further explorations of this in the future." She also spoke of the different vocal styles she employed to convey the meanings of each song: "On a song like 'Infinity Guitars', obviously the delivery is going to be much more aggressive and menacing while a song like 'Rill Rill', you are occupying a much different state of mind when you're delivering those vocals."
The lead single from Treats, "Tell 'Em", was released as a free download on April 28, 2010 via the duo's official website. "Infinity Guitars" was released on November 14, 2010 as the second single from the album.Rolling Stone placed the track at number 21 on their list of the 50 Best Songs of 2010. The music video for "Infinity Guitars" premiered on NME's website on September 19, 2010. "Riot Rhythm" was released on February 14, 2011 as the album's third and final single.
Treats received general acclaim from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 84, based on 35 reviews.Paste gave the album 9.3/10 or a "phenomenal" rating, and said that it is "a supremely raw and visceral pop masterwork".Pitchfork writer Mark Richardson gave the album 8.7/10, earning it a "Best New Music" accolade and stating that it sounds "remarkably fresh and unlike anything else right now". Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly awarded Treats an A−, describing the sound as "genre-swerving".Rolling Stone gave it three-and-a-half stars with reviewer Jon Dolan citing it as "noise that's friendly and cute, primitivism that masks pop smarts and respect for tradition".