Weezer Hurley

Weezer Hurley
For their long-embattled fans, early word about the new Weezer album looked promising: a switch to indie powerhouse Epitaph would result in the quartet's most rocking record in years. Then we got a cover with the dude from Lost and a clothing line tie-in with the titular company. Ugh. Thankfully, Hurley falls more in line with early expectations than a Weez-approved set of T-shirts and jackets might suggest; it's the band's least groan-inducing record since Maladroit, and their most consistent since the Green Album brought them out of hibernation. "Where's My Sex" is really the only track that wallows in the detritus that filled out Make Believe and the Red Album. Frontman/main songwriter Rivers Cuomo continues to experiment with a host of writing partners (Semisonic's Dan Wilson, Ryan Adams and even Linda Perry get co-writing credits), but their influences are far less pronounced. And even though loser anthem "Trainwrecks" doesn't restore the idiosyncratic glory of their debut, and faux-acoustic number "Unspoken" doesn't rub the same raw nerve as Pinkerton, if you've stuck with the band through all their pop concessions and Lil Wayne guest spots, Hurley is the band's satisfying, if not outright incredible, return to glory. (Epitaph)