In a posting at www.wilcoworld.net, the group revealed that they plan to begin mixing 20 songs recorded for the album in April, with an eye to ultimately released between 12 and 15 numbers.
The tentative title for the record is "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot," although the meaning of the title is unclear.
In military usage, that would be the code for the letters YHF, which is both a radio-frequency term and the airport code for ... Hearst, Ontario? Wilco's name is a military abbreviation for the radio response "will comply."
Wilco also confirmed that longtime drummer Ken Coomer has left the band. He has been replaced by Chicago-based drummer Glenn Kotche, who has toured with Jim O'Rourke, Paul K. And The Weathermen and Edith Frost. Kotche also worked with Tweedy on the soundtrack to the upcoming film "Chelsea Walls."
"The departure of Ken Coomer was quite sad for us all, but everybody in the Wilco camp is now really excited about the way the band and the record are sounding with Kotche," the band said in the statement.
The new album follows on last year's "Mermaid Avenue II," a sequel to the group's collaboration with British singer Billy Bragg on a collection of unfinished songs by folk-music pioneer Woody Guthrie.
Meanwhile, on March 1, singer-songwriter Jeff Tweedy gave fans in Toronto a sneak-preview of "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot," performing several new songs from the album at a solo show at the intimate Trinity Centre.
During the show, Tweedy essayed new numbers "Beautiful & Stoned," "Please Tell My Brother," "Embers Of An American Flag (a.k.a. Cash Machine or Diet Coke)," "Lost On The Sidewalk", and "Bob Dylan's Beard."
When Tweedy performed the latter song, several audience members could be heard singing along with the unreleased song.
"You guys know that song because of Napster, right?" Tweedy good-naturedly asked.
"My new record's already out. I'm making a record right now," he said, in an apparent reference to the likelihood that the solo show would join the dozens of live tracks already circulating on Napster.