At that time, the group worked with an independent label, Barsuk, which helped musicians, who weren’t after commercial success. In 2000, Nathan Good suddenly left the band. Michael Schorr replaced him and helped the musicians record a new LP, We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes.
After the release of the second LP, the band presented an EP, Forbidden Love, which featured tracks that didn’t fit into the LP. After the EP, the artists immediately started working on a new project. The LP, The Photo Album, came out in 2001. The track list featured dramatic sounding tunes. As the number of fans was growing, artists decided to film a music video for their single, "A Movie Script Ending". It collected more than 700,000 views on YouTube.
In 2003, a new drummer, Jason McGerr, joined the band. He began working on the next album, Transatlanticism. The LP earned positive reviews from the fans and music critics.
In 2005, the group released an album, which featured songs recorded during the tours. The artists called it, The John Byrd E.P.
As the group was gaining popularity, it started getting offers from different labels. Finally, the band left Barsuk and signed a contract with Atlantic Records. The artists immediately recorded a new LP, Plan, which with due promotion, turned out to be highly commercially successful. The album sold 90,000 copies in the first week and later became platinum. It climbed to the 4th spot of Billboard 200. After the release, many organizers started trying to book Death Cab for Cutie for private events.