Since their TV debut on Mr. Show in the late 90s, Tenacious D have operated on the same basic premise: two schlubby guys with acoustic guitars truly believing they're rock gods. Jack Black and Kyle Gass got a lot of mileage out of that until Black became a big-ticket actor and the band started selling out arenas; that is, they became legitimate rock stars.
But six years after their film Tenacious D In The Pick Of Destiny bombed critically and financially, the band has regained its underdog status. The best songs on Rize Of The Fenix address that real-life redemption story. The title track builds a classic rock epic out of their quest for a hit that will make fans regret lasering off their D tattoos. The Ballad Of Hollywood Jack And The Rage Kage, meanwhile, plays on Black's movie star status and Gass's less illustrious "indie cred."
Still, when they don characters, as on the Springsteenian ode to older ladies, 39, and during tepid inter-song skits, it's hard to ignore the fact that the joke is kind of stale.
Top track: Rize Of The Fenix