Garbage has never been the most original band: Its mix of shoegazer atmosphere, New Wave hooks and gothic melodrama has always seemed like a deft studio concoction, which indeed it was, stemming from '90s alt-rock super producer Butch Vig (Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana) and his Smart Studio mates recruiting a sexy front woman in Shirley Manson and deftly cashing in with the modern-rock radio-friendly sound of their debut, released at the tail end of the alternative era in 1995.

The group has continued to churn out effective if never particularly original sounds (think Blondie meets mid-'80s Cure) ever since, though it's been far from prolific: This is only the fourth Garbage album, and the first since 2001's "Beautifulgarbage." And it hasn't been a particularly easy ride: Vig reportedly quit the group at the start of this recording, then returned a few months later.

For all of that, Garbage continues to offer modest pleasures for fans of rollicking pop-rock, and this is its catchiest and most consistent set since the debut. You can virtually hear Manson's sneer on driving rockers such as "Bad Boyfriend" and "Right Between the Eyes," and the title track is a welcome bit of quieter, mid-tempo melancholy that stands as the best song the group has ever produced.

Jim DeRogatis