"Kicking things off with Acts Of Man we're instantly in a world of dreamily apocalyptic folk. Smith intones, 'When the acts of man cause the ground to break open, oh let me inside'. If Warren Ellis And Nick Cave hadn't so eloquently scored the soundtrack for The Road, Midlake could probably have done a reasonable job of it. Interestingly, Core Of Nature seems to follow similar themes to that of Cormac McCarthy's novel, featuring a protagonist who walks through a wood accepting his bleak fate.
Children Of The Ground is possibly the album's finest moment. It's seemingly based in a feral landscape where 'they jump on your back' and 'leave an imprint on your shoulder blades'. It notes that 'we're all undone in this town' at the climax of one of the finest vocal sections on the album - a dénouement that suggests the absence of hope, despite the anthemic leanings of elements of the song.
Although the vocal harmonies are exquisite throughout and the production is warm and inviting, almost everything else on the album is unsettlingly cold. The electric guitars tend to be scabrous, like thorns on a wilting rose (Winter Dies), and at times they are brutal, such as on the strangulated solo amongst the haunting flutes on the title track.
The Courage Of Others is bleak. Many will find it a struggle at first, but there is beauty amongst the laments; it just takes time for it to become apparent."