The Offspring Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace

It’s obvious that the Offspring will never exceed (or even match) the artistic or critical success they experienced in the past. That said, Rise and Fall proves that fans shouldn’t completely give up on them. Album opener "Half-Truism” harkens back to their Ixna on the Hombre days (minus the cheesy breakdown about two-thirds in); "Trust in You” wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Smash; and single "Hammerhead” is a pretty good choice for a first impression. But the best aspect of this record is the absence of any "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)” or "Why Don’t You Get a Job?”-type songs. While this album definitely has its weak moments (the way too overproduced "A Lot Like Me” and the built for radio "Nothingtown”), it definitely has some good parts that shine through. This isn’t going to win over any new fans but it won’t disappoint diehards either. (Columbia)