Songs From The Sparkle Lounge

In the nineties, when producer Robert "Mutt" Lange disappeared into Switzerland with Shania Twain and dump trucks full of cash, he left Def Leppard stranded. Lange produced and co-wrote their best-selling release Hysteria, and the band tries hard to re-create that album's magic on Songs From the Sparkle Lounge. "Go," the opener, has the group's signature layered vocals, crunching guitars and Seventies glam-rock vibe. But when the fivesome team up with Tim McGraw in adesperate country-crossover attempt on "Nine Lives," the results aren't pretty. From there, the band's on cruise control — especially on the politically tinged "Cruise Control" and the Kansas-style power ballad "Love" — with songs that feel like inferior versions of hits two decades past. Def Leppard show signs of life on the headbanging "Bad Actress," which takes on the Lindsay Lohans of the world, but it's clear they're missing their old producer. We await their 2010 Timbaland-aided comeback.