Just as we surmised when it was announced Stephin Merritt and Co. were playing South By Southwest: Magnetic Fields has prepared the way for a new album, "Love at the Bottom of the Sea," due on March 6.

It will be their first album for Merge records in 13 years, their last for the indie label having been another "Love" set: they issued three-parter "69 Love Songs" in 1999, and then put their last three albums out via Nonesuch (former home to Wilco).

"Love at the Bottom of the Sea" -- a title that sounds  equal parts desperate, slow-moving, fatalistic and romantic -- is Magnetic Fields' 10th album, it utilizes a stable of Merritt's usual collaborators, including Claudia Gonson, Sam Davol, John Woo, Shirley Simms, Johny Blood and Daniel Handle. Merritt sticks to his signature brevity, too, on the 15 tracks, with no song exceeding three minutes in length.

Pre-orders are up now with extra goodies for the first 100 folks who sign up, and early vinyl purchasers will have dibs on eggshell colored records. Lovely.

Magnetic Fields will be supporting the release with its SXSW showcase, plus a slew of tour dates, below.

I've only managed to see Magnetic Fields twice, my favorite of the two performances at Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music, among the best seated venues there. Merritt was cranky. It was phenomenal.

Here is the tracklist for "Love at the Bottom of the Sea":

1.     God Wants Us to Wait
2.     Andrew in Drag
3.     Your Girlfriend’s Face
4.     Born For Love
5.     I’d Go Anywhere with Hugh
6.     Infatuation (With Your Gyration)
7.     The Only Boy in Town
8.     The Machine in Your Hand
9.     Goin’ Back to the Country
10.  I’ve Run Away to Join the Fairies
11.  The Horrible Party
12.  My Husband’s Pied-a-Terre
13.  I Don’t Like Your Tone
14.  Quick!
15.  All She Cares About Is Mariachi

Here are Magnetic Fields' tour dates:

March 6 Helsinki Hudson Hudson, NY
March 7 Union Transfer Philadelphia PA
March 8 Barnes and Noble New York, NY
March 11 All Tomorrow’s Parties England
March 14, 15, 16 SXSW Austin, TX
March 18 The Vogue Vancouver, BC
March 19 Neptune Theater Seattle, WA
March 20 Neptune Theater Seattle, WA
March 21 Roseland Theater Portland, OR
March 23 Orpheum Theater Los Angeles, CA
March 24 Fox Theater Oakland, CA
March 26 Vic Theater Chicago, IL
March 27 Vic Theater Chicago, IL
March 28 Englert Theater Iowa City, IA
March 30 Sound Academy Toronto, ONT
March 31 Le National Montral, QUE
April 3 Beacon Theater New York, NY
April 4 Beacon Theater New York, NY
April 6 Berklee Performance Center Boston, MA
April 7 Berklee Performance Center Boston, MA
April 9 The 930 Club Washington, DC
April 11 Cat’s Cradle Carrboro, NC
April 12 Cat’s Cradle Carrboro, NC
April 13 Variety Playhouse Atlanta, GA