La Cucaracha (Rounder)

How does one reconcile the 23-year-old Ween of today — of good manners, broad acclaim, fewer drugs, and more wrinkles — with the Ween of lo-fi home-taping, legacy-fueling rumors of Scotchgard sniffing, and a freezing cold winter spent alone, drinking and recording, in a rented vacation home on Long Beach Island, New Jersey? Only by acknowledging that deep down, and quite miraculously, Ween hasn't changed a bit. La Cucaracha, the duo's ninth studio record and first since 2003's Quebec, contains more holes than the typical Ween disc, but beyond that is exactly what fans should expect, and indeed all they could ever ask for: the unexpected, executed expertly. Ween remains a masterful chameleon, whether doing fellow Pennsylvanians the Dead Milkmen ("Shamemaker," nicely skewering the Philly punk accent), David Bowie ("Your Party," a reimagining of "Young Americans" likely inspired by Dire Straits' "My Parties, ") and Santana (the eleven-minute '60s epic "Woman and Man"). Plus reggae, country, a "gay Euro DJ" experiment, and the requisite obscene rock song. La Cucaracha doesn't rival Dean and Gene's finest, but proves conclusively that Ween is still Ween.

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