When it comes to the arts, at least something good seems to have resulted from the Iraq war: Travis have snapped out of it. Working up a polite but forceful head of steam, the Scots -- who virtually negated the splendor of 2000's ''The Man Who'' with its negligible sequel, the following year's ''The Invisible Band'' -- spend a chunk of their latest addressing the conflict and its psychological effects in direct hits like ''The Beautiful Occupation'' and ''Peace the F--- Out.'' Buttressing these sentiments (and singer Fran Healy's dewy voice) is just the type of production Travis needed: jarring guitar solos, zigzagging harmonies, snow-crunching percussion. 12 Memories doesn't sustain its vitriol; wistful afternoon-tea ballads dominate. But this time, the melancholy in tracks like ''Mid-life Krysis'' is grounded in reality, not twee daydreaming. The album isn't good news for Tony Blair, but it is for those who like a little substance in their balmy alt-pop.