The Men has changed profoundly since its 2010 debut. Immaculada is noisy and abrasive, whereas 2012's Open Your Heart is noisy and catchy, and 2013's New Moon is noisy and Western. At an album a year and nearly as many different sounds, the band is like a college town in the Mountain West: What you consider the real version depends on when you came in.
The recently released Tomorrow's Hits drifts further from what was once The Men's sole consistent feature—noisy—to explore a roadhouse sound reminiscent of A.M.-era Wilco. If you last heard Open Your Heart, the arrival of saxophones may alarm you. As a 2012-era The Men fan, I first experienced the alt-country jukebox sound of Tomorrow's Hits as a betrayal.
Then I listened to the back catalog again, and I remembered that The Men has betrayed its old sound on four consecutive albums. The charitable listener calls that versatility. The Men may have changed so often as to convert its entire fan base to uncharitable listeners, but at least it's not pandering to us. Tomorrow's Hits is not their most powerful album, but it joins a five-way tie for least expected.
The Men plays the VFW Wed., April 16, at 9 PM with Boys, Silver Palms and Total Combined Weight. $8/$10 for ages 18-20.