Ataris So Long, Astoria

After a handful of releases for Fat Wreck Chords and Kung Fu Records, the Ataris first major-label release shows the band’s pop punk sound reaching an increased level of refinement, enhanced by the watertight production of Lou Giordano. Despite the sonic strengths of the disc, the Ataris’ lyrics occasionally resemble gawky high school yearbook poetry with lines such as, "If I died tomorrow, would this song live on forever?” from "Unopened Letter to the World,” an awkward nod to Emily Dickinson. The band’s straight-faced, fist-pumping rendition of Don Henley’s "The Boys of Summer” also wallows in too much backwards-looking ’80s nostalgia. Despite So Long, Astoria’s faltering moments, MTV and Warped Tour fans are bound to eat it up like caviar. (Columbia)