Velvet Revolver Libertad (RCA) Essentially soft and unable to point it where you want it, Velvet Revolver is an appropriate name for a band whose pop tendencies have upset and confused rock snobs, given the players' hard rock pedigree. Libertad does indeed carry a sense of identity crisis, veering from hard-edged rock to sanitised melody. There is the occasional sense that guitarist Slash may be imprisoned in his python cage as the album lacks the kind of artery-bursting rock-out that Set Me Free provided for 2004's Contraband. Even maracas and pianos feature as well as a cover of ELO's Can't Get it Out of My Head. Yet there's an undeniable sense of progression: Let it Roll is a raucous opener, while She Builds Quick Machines features an irresistible duel between Slash and his old Guns N' Roses chum Duff McKagan on bass. Former Stone Temple Pilot vocalist Scott Weiland sounds fresh, demonstrating a pleasing new ability to not always sound like he's singing through one nostril. This is particularly true on The Last Fight, complete with a wonderfully slutty solo from Slash, and the rousing American Man. Together, these two tracks make a great pitch for giving Velvet Revolver the halftime show at next year's Super Bowl. While Libertad is short on stand-out songs, there's a new sense of melodic calm to match the neat balance between introspection and lewd lady-chasing. It is consistently better than its predecessor but somehow manages to not shine as brightly. You could call that tight discipline, although this will not please those who believe every Slash solo should induce nosebleeds.