New York Dolls

If you're looking for a lipstick kiss (and a platform-boot kick) from, say, lower Manhattan circa 1973, the New York Dolls, Version 2.0, upgrade their classic program for pop-hooked trash rock with a delicious finesse. Yes, the 2006 Dolls are a far more able band than V 1.2 that recorded their sloshy, landscape-altering debut. But there's also a seamless spiritual thread here that spans 33 years--or would that be 33 1/3?--to their checkered yet glorious past, even without a genuine song for the ages as "Personality Crisis" or "Looking For a Kiss."

David Jo, Syl and the quite-fitting new guys come awfully close with the simmer, shimmy and shake of "Dance Like a Monkey" (the first single) as well as the fetching "Take a Good Look at My Good Looks" (the CD closer) and two uncharacteristically touching ballads, "Maimed Happiness" and "I Ain't Got Nothing." They rip the Stones--a grand Dolls tradition--on "Runnin' Around" and "Punishing World" as well as the Stones do the Stones these days (that is, rather well) and do their usual Shangri-Las nod on "Plenty of Music" and "Dancing on the Lip of a Volcano" with the same inspired reverence as Springsteen. And this babe's got some legs (in fishnets, of course) that seduce you further with each listen, suggesting that if these Dolls are now in the game for a genuine haul, next time they're bound to kiss and kill.

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