The White Stripes, Elephant

A power trio with two members, this alleged sibling duo continues the inexorable evolution of their lo-fi aesthetic. Unapologetically quirky, the stripped-down feel is as raw as ever yet even tenser and more tantalizing. I dig the super riffs in "Black Math," "The Hardest Button to Button," the satisfyingly heavy "Little Acorns" and the instant classic ersatz bassline of "Seven Nation Army," though the lyrics meander from noodly to creepy ("You've Got Her In Your Pocket") to incomprehensible ("Girl, You Have No Faith in Medicine"), and when it gets slower it gets sloppier: "Well It's True That We Love One Another" is bizarre, "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself" is aptly named, and "Balls and Biscuit" has some tasty blues but runs on way too long. But Jack White's tight-pant Robert Plant vocals suck you in and the jams makes you groove, and the formula would probably ring much less authentic if it were much more polished. (Content: mild adult themes.)