It’s cool that Imperial Teen is still making records that sound like 1996, especially since they had such a quintessential mid-90s career tack. Spun off from a prominent but underrated band (in this case, Faith No More), they launched with a couple critical favorites on a major label imprint, got some big tour dates and a spot in a teen movie, then drifted over to Merge Records after their Universal deal puttered out. It’s funny, too, because some of the bands still around that did the exact same thing — say, Spoon and the Dandy Warhols — share a similar set of early rock-and-roll influences and a similar taste for fairly minimalist guitar-and-keyboard pop. Imperial Teen’s never held the stature of those bands, though, which is odd considering how many acts that followed them held up the peppy, co-ed indie pop standard they helped establish. That their new record is as good as any they’ve ever put out is maybe their reward — they’re probably in better shape having a record out on Merge in 2007 than having one on Universal.