Criteria's Stephen Pedersen started out in Cursive, way back when Saddle Creek Records was still Omaha's little local secret. He eventually departed that group, moving to Durham, NC, to study law at Duke. But he couldn't stop rocking, and formed White Octave while in school. In 2001 Pedersen returned to Omaha, and wrote a batch of songs. They became the En Garde album, which he recruited local pals to help him perform live. By 2005's When We Break, issued through Saddle Creek, Criteria's full-time lineup included Pedersen, A.J. Mogis, Mike Sweeney, and Aaron Druery. Later that year Saddle Creek reissued Criteria's debut; the band also contributed to Lagniappe, the label's compilation to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina.