Okay, this is getting a little old for those of you who don't care about such matters, but I have to go there.
I just started listening to "Campfire Songs" again after a few years, and it helped me understand the strangeness in a new way.
What those songs reminded me of most were the lo-fi architectural masterpieces of Phil Elverum of The Microphones and his numerous other production gigs for those in the K-Records crew (Calvin, Mirah, Adrian Orange, etc.)...
Back in around 2000-2001, Phil was pioneering a new height of mainstreamness, even garnering album of the year status from contemporary tastemaker Pitchfork. Lo-fi was on a high, and all was primed for Phil to make a big jump with his group into some form of 'pop' incarnation.
But that was not what Phil was vibing on. Instead, Phil decided to end his (relatively famous) 'The Microphones' project and start a new one, "Mount Eerie", named after a mountain on his native Fidalgo Island. That is what one would call a PR agent's worst nightmare.
But Phil has continued to make really great lo-fi music as Mount Eerie, and has continued to make awesome analog recordings of other artists. He has fans, he tours, I'm sure he does relatively okay.
But Animal Collective, now that is another story. Somehow, those cats have taken what was essentially an avant-garde/lo-fi experimental art project and made it into the most vital pop act in the world.
Where Phil turned his back on such accolades, Avey Tare, Panda, and Geologist have capitalized, and in a major way, which I find interesting, given the relative similarity in each "group's" initial style...