The Offspring Conspiracy of One

Based on the annoying leadoff single, "Original Prankster," I was fully expecting to despise this album much more than I actually do. That song's faux Latino shuffle and striking resemblance to both of their previous novelty hits, "Come Out and Play" and "Pretty Fly for a White Guy," had me preparing for another Americana. But this album isn't as bad as their previous disc... not that it's all that much better, mind you. With the exception of the single, the Limp Bizkit sound alike "Living in Chaos" and the industrial goth metal stomp of "Special Delivery," Conspiracy... finds the band pretty much sticking to what they know best: quick, high-energy punk rock. Of course most of the new punk songs sound identical to their old punk songs. But tracks like "Vultures" and "Denial, Revisited" find them getting back to their roots and earliest influences, most notably old T.S.O.L. and '80s SoCal glam rock. At this point, six albums into their career, they sound like they're on autopilot. But hey, if selling a few million copies means front-man Dexter Holland can keep his Nitro label alive for a few more years promoting good punk rock, I guess the end justifies the means. (Sony)