MUSIC: IDENTITY CRISIS

PEARL JAM'S LATEST LACKS CREATIVE ORIGINALITY

The guys in the Seattle-based rock band Pearl Jam are only in their 30s, but the group's newest album, No Code, makes it sound as if they're having a midlife crisis. The songs on the CD flail this way and that, screamingly loud on the vocal-chord-stripping song Lukin, restrained and dreamy on the ballad Off He Goes and fuzzily philosophical on the mostly laid-back number Present Tense. Sonic variety can be a good thing--the Smashing Pumpkins' brilliant double album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, also veered all over the map--but too few of the songs on the Pearl Jam CD...

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