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The Junior Varsity

The Great Compromise (Victory Records)

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In an era when iTunes has eliminated much of the recording industry's bloat and bulk, there's still one nasty big-label habit that won't die — the undeserved album reissue. Now, though, the majors aren't the worst offenders; it's the just-below-mainstream indie labels that seem hell-bent on cashing in on their recent acquisitions' past successes. This time around, Victory Records churns out an enhanced version of the Junior Varsity's The Great Compromise, the 2004 album that gave the Chicago quintet a decent smattering of attention for the first time. The problem with rereleasing such a recent and forgettable album is that, unlike other albums that mature over time, there's not much wiggle room for something that came out only two years ago and sounds just like every other four-chord sobfest to emerge from the genre in recent years. The included bonus DVD's behind-the-scenes interviews and live cuts might be the ultimate wet dream for the Varsity's biggest fans, but the general public will find singer Asa Dawson's paper-thin warble and guitarist Andy Wildrick's constant chugging just as monotonous today as they were two years ago. It's not like emo ever had a great reputation, but if Slint or Sunny Day Real Estate had been people, this is the album that would have them rolling over in their graves.

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