Leaving aside the thematic and lyrical threads that go from song to song, one of the things that makes me listen to this recording over and over are what to me HAVE to be conscious musical references to other artists' songs. Win Butler said it was like a mix of Depeche Mode and Neil Young, but I am hearing a lot of other artists here...
Reviewers have noted a big early 80s influence here, but on tracks like "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains), there's a piano opening like "Come On Eileen", the feel of Regine's singing is very Debbie Harry, then there's the synthesizer bit that's very much like something out of "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and an ending that echoes the end of Gabriel's "On The Air."
"Month of May" has a sound that's pure Bowie -- it starts out like a Heathen-style song, where Bowie revisted his Ziggy style of writing and playing, and ends up with a total Outside/Earthling vibe. This is perhaps the song where I've found the most listeners and reviewers posting similar observations to mine.
One song where it seems to be just me, at least just me writing anything, is "Deep Blue." This is a pure Kinks song in feel, which makes sense because its subject ties in so well with so many Kinks songs that idealize a bygone England that is irretrievably gone.
I could go on, but you get the idea.