Release date: March 26 Highlights: "Tap Out," "Welcome to Japan," "Happy Ending"

Frankly speaking, this is the follow-up album The Strokes have been trying to record for over a decade. Sure, there were certifiable shining moments on Room on Fire and a few satisfactory tracks on First Impressions and Angles, but for some reason the band just wasn't able to pull it all together like they have for their fifth and most recent studio release.

Part of it likely had to do with fatigue, disinterest and rumored simmering conflict between members, but for Comedown Machine Julian Casablancas and crew worked through the strife to produce a polished, witty, effort that's part NYC underground garage punk, part sophisticated new millennium pop rock. In classic Strokes fashion, it runs a tight 40 minutes wire-to-wire, with songs ranging from the experimentally erratic "One Way Trigger" to the album's passive backside bookend, "Call it Fate, Call it Karma."—Monster