Label: XL
Released: October 22

"Okay, I think by now we've e-stab-lished/Ev-ery-thing is inherently worthless/There's nothing in the universe/With any kind of objective purpose." The key syllable in the opening lines of New Jersey punk quintet Titus Andronicus' third proper album is "stab," as it does well to describe just the method with which every piss-and-vinegar flavored truism the band comes up with gets used: With scathing, bloody, take-no-prisoners force. After all, how does a band follow a sophomore album like The Monitor, 2010's kinda-concept-album that revolved around the Civil War?

The answer adoring critics and fans were given was more or less a return to the band's roots, where ambition to do something cohesive and grand in scale was followed with an album of far less deliberate songwriting, and more deliberate projection of an ethos that sounds as much like "Go team!" as it does "Fuck us, fuck you, and fuck the tastemaking blogs we all rode in on."

Nothing in the band's repertoire vacillates so wildly between childish punk belligerence and old-soul weariness, and that's saying something, or rather, screaming it: Despondent nihilism has never been this much fun. -Foster Kamer