The Libertines

Pete Doherty can skim a police blotter and place tiny red check marks next to all possible offenses. What crime hasn't our gack-obsessed, Coleridge-invoking roue committed? Time for Heroes: The Best of the Libertines is a crime of sorts too. With the scabs from a recent partial Libertines reunion still forming, and another concert being rumored, the compilation comes across as an unsavory cash-grab.

If you can ignore that sin (as well as the three tracks from the band's self-titled second album), you're left to clutch a rather standout compilation. The Libertines, for all their fleeting glory, were indeed deft at crafting brilliant three-minute guitar-pop ditties, tipping a bowler hat to everything from British Invasion bounce to punk grit to Jam provincialism. Time for Heroes' victories hark back to Barat and Doherty's still-best-mates days: top of the indie food chain, playing guerrilla gigs in fire-code-violating clubs, going nipple-to-nipple before one mike for that awesome vocal finale in "Death on the Stairs." However, "What a Waster" is more proper, an up-front, cautionary tale about squandering your green and your gifts. If Doherty only paid heed to his own words.


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