Start a new, clean-slate project with Alex. I used to fantasize about the day when the Perfect Drummer would show up on my doorstep and inject an instant shot of awesome into all of my songs. In reality, it's never quite worked out that way. I've been experimenting with making music with Alex for a couple of years now, withsomesuccess. But Alex, like anyone I'd want to spend time with, brings his own opinions and influences to the table, and asking him to be essentially a session musician -- especially since I'm really, really awful at explaining the sound I want -- is unfair to him and frustrating for both of us.
We still want to make music together, but it's now clear that if it's going to happen, it's going to have to be a project to which I don't bring any baggage. None of this "add drums to my songs" stuff. I still want that from someone, sometime, but that's not what this will be about. Nothing I've written before will be allowed. Nothing I've even half-written before will be allowed. I want to try a new instrument.1 I want to sing in a way I don't usually sing. Whatever we do, it has to be entirely new and we'll have to do it together, as equal partners. I'm not throwing away my existing stuff or ceasing work on it, but my hope is that if I designate a specific and separate outlet for it, then it won't creep over into this new project. This will be a good way to force myself to experiment, improvise, and try really weird things.
Pretentiousness check: I should mention that said "new instrument" will probably be Alex's $99 bass, as soon as one of us figures out how to re-string it.