TORONTO - At three decades and counting, Blue Rodeo's Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor boast one of the most enduring partnerships in Canadian rock music.

Which is why they're tired of answering questions about supposed acrimony amongst the band, which has just released its 13th album, "The Things We Left Behind."

"We just read an article on the weekend about how we're barely talking to each other," Keelor said during an interview in Toronto.

"It just seems like people like to tell their stories about what they think the band is. I guess (some guys) are so miserable in their mealy little lives that they have to project that nonsense on two guys who get along pretty good considering the endeavour they're involved in."

That endeavour, this time out, involves one of the most ambitious records of the band's lengthy career.

Cuddy and Keelor insist that they didn't set out to record a double album. When they brought their songs together, they simply realized they had too many.

After some momentary objections from their record label (who would have preferred one long album), Blue Rodeo was going to issue its first double record.

And they were going to issue it on vinyl.

"We come from the vinyl era, we come from LPs, and so it has a certain resonance," said Keelor, who excitedly fidgeted with the double-gatefold LP throughout the interview.

Yet Keelor says he thinks the album could go one of two ways - it could be a watershed moment in the Toronto roots rock band's career, or it could be an epic disaster.

"It'll be interesting to see how this turns out," he said. "If it's the (Spruce) Goose - Howard Hughes' huge flying wooden boat, which never really took off, a great museum piece, but really sort of useless - or another high mark in our careers. We'll have to wait and see.

"I would just say artistically and fulfillingly, it's fantastic. I really love this record. But we'll see how it does as a widget."

But the album isn't exactly a departure from the band's proven formula - instead, "The Things We Left Behind" finds Blue Rodeo taking a few calculated risks without sacrificing the ever-present songcraft on which they've built their fanbase.

Keelor's anthemic opener, "All the Things that Are Left Behind," stacks timpani and mellotron (plus a blazing guitar solo) atop an otherwise simple piano melody to great success (Keelor, with a hint of self-deprecation, says they had to mix up the instrumentation because the song was initially a "little lame").

Each disc contains what Cuddy and Keelor call an "epic." "Million Miles" ambles along amiably for over nine minutes, while the gorgeous "Venus Rising" closes the set by transitioning from pristine piano-pop to noodley psychedelia.

The band kicked around a multitude of ideas for sequencing the record, which was a particular pleasure because they were working with vinyl.

Cuddy is keenly aware that many in the music industry predict that the future lies in releasing singles, not albums. He just doesn't care.

"I think there's a tendency in the record industry now to perceive it as being easily encompassed in one thought: 'Kids don't want records, they want iTunes songs,"' he said.

"I don't think that's entirely true and I don't think anybody should speak for everybody. There's lots of merit to a collection of songs, there's lots of meaning that can be gleaned from a group making an artistic attempt at putting songs together."

If it seems like Blue Rodeo is intentionally going against the grain by putting out a double-LP in a time when many are questioning the future of albums in general - well, it's always served them well in the past.

"We've never really been a part of the current popularity," Cuddy said. "We were lucky that audiences embraced us, so we didn't have to see how far we were from the current trend, you know? And believe me, every time we put out a record someone sits us down and says: 'Well, things have changed since you did your last record.'

"Well, we've done this 13 times, and 13 times, everyone's told us (that). I just think people like music, and it's difficult to categorize everybody at once."

Cuff the Duke's Wayne Petti provides backup vocals throughout the disc, which Keelor says bridges the sprawling project and brings a sense of cohesiveness across songs written by Cuddy and Keelor.

"There's a nice unified thing that happens in the choruses," Keelor said.

As far as reports of unrest in the band, Keelor says it might have been true around 10 years ago, when things "might have been a bit more acrimonious."

Now, he says? Things are just fine.

"There might have been a few moments (in the past) that were pretty tense," he said. "But in the last decade, it hasn't been too bad."