I've listened through a few times, and with the vinyl currently spinning on my record player, I can now officially say: I love The King Is Dead.
The Decemberists' latest is slightly stripped down and firmly on the folk side of their usual folk-prog-rock. I have to admit, as awesome as The Hazards of Love was, it often lost me. "The Rake's Song" was the only takeaway. BUT The King Is Dead is way more accessible without losing that distinct sound they've come to cultivate. Definitely on the lighter, jauntier side, leaving some of their epic sensibilities behind.
If you haven't already, go buy this album. It's seriously making me consider getting tickets to their Beacon Theater show. Yes, I would go uptown to hear this album!