After Owl City's previous album, All Things Bright and Beautiful (2011) sold only 143,000 copies in the United States, Adam Young began working on demo tracks for The Midsummer Station in January 2012. Unlike his previous albums, Young worked with different songwriters and producers for the first time, including Stargate, Emily Wright, and Matthew Thiessen. Young was initially scared of the thought of collaborating with others, "I've never worked with anybody before. I've done everything myself except for mastering. It's a big job for one guy, especially a perfectionist, so I knew I wanted to try to experiment with other people."
On May 15, 2012, Young released the Shooting Star EP, which consisted of four songs that would be featured on The Midsummer Station. Many criticised the EP, saying it was very different from Young's previous works. On his blog, Young defended his choice for the new sound of the EP and the album, stating that he believes "it's a bummer for an artist of any kind to hear, 'Yeah it's great but it's a lot like your previous work.' Creativity is all about pushing boundaries and pressing onward". In an interview with PureVolume, Young stated that the tracks on this record are much darker, with more influence of his own dreams, nightmares and self-reflection.
The album was originally planned to have a release date of August 14, 2012 worldwide, apart from the United Kingdom where it would be released on September 17, 2012. On June 21, 2012, it was announced that the worldwide release date would be pushed back to August 21, 2012. On July 12, 2012, Young announced via Twitter that the UK release date would be brought forward to August 20, 2012. The album was released on August 17 in other countries including Australia.
Competition Starts: 12:00am, September 17, 2012
Competition Ends: 11:55pm, September 25, 2012