Like Wire, Bettie Serveert are only getting fiercer with age. The 50-something Dutch rockers, who found college-radio indie fame in the 90s, make a surprise return with an album big on catchy melodies and tough lyrics delivered forcefully by Carol van Dijk. Her strong voice (think Kim Deal or Liz Phair) remains the focal point, though wild guitars and thunderous drumming give it the foundation it needs to soar.
Opener Shake-Her is an immediate toe-tapper, Sad Dog has excellent guitar histrionics and a surprising bridge, while Tuf Skin, despite being an in-your-face rocker, offers up a vulnerable chorus: "One day I'll finally see what I'm headed for. Put my nose to the grindstone once more. Pull myself up by the bootstraps. I need to get my tough skin back." Past the halfway mark, van Dijk gets soulful on the almost a cappella Monogamous, a sexy song you could imagine Christina Aguilera turning into a monster hit.
Top track: Shake-Her