In my experience, a lot of great art is the result of accidents or unforeseen challenges. Necessity is the mother of invention after all.
And in the case of the new Dumb Numbers 'Stranger EP', this record wouldn't exist if Murph hadn't flaked on a tour... As many of you probably know, the band's usual live drummer is Murph from Dinosaur Jr. Even though Dumb Numbers has different drummers on the recordings (ehem Dale Crover), to my knowledge, Murph is the only drummer who has ever played with Dumb Numbers live. So when Murph had to back out of a very rare Dumb Numbers tour opening for the Lemonheads, it was a huge blow for band leader Adam Harding.
Instead of cancelling the tour, Adam decided to use this as an opportunity to re-think his songs from the ground up. Getting another drummer to fill in was not an option (Dale was unavailable, touring with Melvins I believe), so he reimagined many of his tracks with new instrumentation, including cello, spoken word female vocals, and a dose of frightening noise.
The result is a 30-minute "EP" that is perhaps the most adventurous and profound the band has ever sounded.