Bleed Like Me (Interscope)

Perhaps a near-breakup is exactly what Garbage needed. Bleed Like Me plays like a distillation of the group's strengths: The riffs arrive skillet-fried and huge, and the ballads burn with a soulfulness that sounds like the best Motown covers the Runaways never did. "Bad Boyfriend" has a mudslide density that Shirley Manson barely manages to snake her trademark snarl through. Although Garbage has always been a wily borrower, even the lacy violins that weave throughout the dance blast of "Metal Heart" sound wholly owned. Fans will be more than sated by a record that sounds like a best-of, and detractors should relent and enjoy the ballsy bloodletting.

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