Median The Sender

With Little Brother long out of commission and main draw Phonte off getting his soul right, it seems like ages since fans were blessed with the fire that was once the Justice League crew. On sophomore disc The Sender, former League member Median tries and, to a certain extent, succeeds in bringing back a bit of that old time heat, mixing it up over the familiar sounds of affiliate beatsmiths Khrysis and 9th Wonder, who together handle the lion's share of the record's serviceable, multilayered moods. Median's penchant for free-ranging wordplay works well in small chunks, finding its best footing over a passable 9th Wonder assist on the conceptually appropriate "Open My Thoughts," but over time feels disconnected and a tad directionless, and he is quickly outshone by a slightly rusty Phontiaglo, in his rap return. Buoyed by the sonic strength of cuts like "Crazy Visions," the smoothed out "Special" and spacious "Okie Dokers," however, the disc's top-biller still manages an amicable enough flow to keep this piece of J-League nostalgia rocking at moderate levels from beginning to end. (Foreign Exchange)