Happiness LTD. (Standard Edition)
Maybe it's their age, maybe it's a return to their synthier roots, maybe it's the loss of guitarist Dante DeCaro. But Hot Hot Heat's fourth album just isn't, well, as hot as their previous efforts. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing -- singer/keyboardist Steve Bay still sounds like a snottier Robert Smith, but his haughtiness is tempered by a slicker, more new wave sound that is surprisingly understated (well, understated for Hot Hot Heat). With a few exceptions (like the jaunty "5 Times out of 100"), Happiness is more sedated than saucy, cool and composed rather than white-hot.