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Stone Temple Pilots aren't on autopilot

Musicians Scott Weiland, Dean DeLeo, Robert DeLeo and

Musicians Scott Weiland, Dean DeLeo, Robert DeLeo and Eric Kretz of Stone Temple Pilots visit fuse Studios on May 20, 2010 in New York City. Credit: Getty/Theo Wargo

Give Stone Temple Pilots credit. They're not resting on their laurels.

"Stone Temple Pilots" (Atlantic) could have simply retraced their '90s-rocking heyday and been just as successful, considering the interest in the band's first album in nine years. Scott Weiland, Dean and Robert DeLeo, and Eric Kretz could have trotted out "Another Interstate Love Song," "Plusher" and "Big Bang Teenager" and been done with it.

Instead, Weiland and the gang successfully stretch a bit, reflecting their time apart and their work with Velvet Revolver and Army of Anyone. The jangly "Cinnamon" is a surprising slice of power pop, complete with a carefree refrain of "yeah, c'mon c'mon now, yeah, c'mon c'mon." On "First Kiss on Mars," Weiland adopts his best David Bowie impression - both in delivery and in the images of the "bi-polar disco" and the discussion of robots and modern love - while he offers an odd mix of Johnny Rotten and Black Francis on "Hickory Dichotomy."

Of course, there's plenty of classic STP sounds on "Stone Temple Pilots," as well. The slow, grinding guitar of "Peacoat" could have easily been on "Core." The first single, "Between the Lines," is packed with post-grunge guitar riffs and rehab references that suggest things may be better now than "when we used to take drugs."

Whether that turns out to be the case, Stone Temple Pilots seem excited enough to stick together for the foreseeable future.

Stone Temple Pilots

"Stone Temple Pilots"

BOTTOM LINE Remaking the band, not reliving the past.

GRADE B

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