An undeniable if unlikely influence on alternative rock—they've been lovingly covered by, among others, Green Day, Pegboy and Frightened Rabbit—Cheap Trick's punchy pop, fueled by power-chord surges and sparkling hooks, suffered from indulgent production on last year's The Latest. But judging from that album's follow-up, a live performance of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and 2006's punchy studio comeback, Rockford, Cheap Trick still has the potential to impress. A studio sidestep can be forgiven as long as they still bring it on stone-cold classics such as "Surrender" and "I Want You To Want Me."
—Bryan C. Reed