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Next, he released the second in the Fifty Stated project, titled Illinois. Among the subjects explored on Illinois are the cities of Chicago, Decatur and Jacksonville; the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, the death of a friend on Casimir Pulaski Day, the poet Carl Sandburg, and the serial killer John Wayne Gacy. Stevens had spent the second half of 2004 researching and writing material for the album. As with Michigan, Stevens used the state of Illinois as a leaping-off point for his more personal explorations of faith, family, love, and location. Though slated for release on July 5, 2005, the album was briefly delayed by legal issues regarding the use of Superman in the original album cover artwork. In the double vinyl release, a balloon sticker has been placed over Superman on the cover art of the first 5,000 copies. The next printings had an empty space where the Superman image was, as with the CD release.