Led Zeppelin, Coda

Not even Led Zeppelin can make an album of castoffs work. I'm inclined to cut this one some slack as its very existence is due to the band's unwillingness to continue compromised after John Bonham's untimely death, and for that I salute their integrity, but there's a reason they never used these songs: they're just not very good. Whether it's because they were basically soundchecks elevated to track status ("We're Gonna Groove," "I Can't Quit You Baby"), session castoffs ("Poor Tom," "Wearing and Tearing") or jams without a home ("Bonzo's Montreux"), almost none of these tracks really get off the ground and nearly all suffer technical or compositional flaws of some sort. After all, that's why they weren't ever used before, right? The best ones are probably the leftovers from In Through The Out Door ("Wearing and Tearing," "Darlene" and to a lesser extent "Ozone Baby") because they're the most developed and the most technically polished, but other than the interesting percussion solos of "Bonzo's Montreux" the rest of the album is predictable and predictably forgettable. Throughout Coda I had the distinct feeling that the good stuff was right around the corner, that we were just a bridge away from something marvelous, but nothing ever gelled or shook loose. Sadly, that feeling of unmet expectation is not a good note to end on even though it was the only one they were willing to play. (Content: adult themes on "Poor Tom" and "Darlene.")