This paper aims at experimentally demonstrating the effects of axial slot casing treatment and tip gap variation on compressor performance, unsteady tip clearance flow, and stall inception features in a highly-loaded mixed-flow compressor at partspeed. Two tip gaps (0.32% and 0.64% of rotor blade chord at mid-span) were tested at three rotational speeds. A semicircular axial slot casing treatment improves compressor stability. The experimental results show that this casing treatment significantly moves the stability limit at partial speeds towards lower mass flow for both tip gaps, compared to the reference case without casing treatment. In the case of the compressor with casing treatment, efficiency increases for the large tip gap and decreases for the small tip gap. Dynamic pressure transducers installed in the casing upstream and along the rotor tip chord direction are used to detect the unsteady behavior of tip region flow and stall inception signals of the compressor. The characteristic frequency in the tip region decreases, and the oscillating amplitude first decreases and then increases during the throttling process, regardless of tip gap size or casing treatment. For axial compressors, by contrast, the observation in previous work has been an increase of the oscillating amplitude with decreasing flow coefficient. This is a surprising result of our work. Neither experiment nor CFD so far was able to explain why the trend in this mixed-flow compressor is different from the trend expected from axial compressors. The compressor stalls through the spike stall inception both with and without casing treatment. This observation also differs from recent studies on axial compressors, which demonstrated that casing treatments could change the type of stall inception. The unstable disturbance indicating initial stall inception initially appears in the blade tip region from blade mid-chord to trailing edge, and then propagates upstream towards the leading edge. This disturbance might be generated by the reversed flow separation near mid-chord.