Linkin Park: "Minutes to Midnight"
Producer: Rick Rubin
Machine Shop/Warner Bros.
Release Date: May 15

Rap-metal's sell-by date expired many, many years ago, and no one noticed more than Linkin Park, whose "Minutes to Midnight" finds the band throwing all manner of styles at the wall to distance it from a genre that currently enjoys a lower approval rating than Cheney. Linkin Park's ambitions are nearly palpable, but songs likely conceived as homages end up sounding too close to their sources. One can detect bits of Metallica ("No More Sorrow"), the theme from "Halloween" (first single "What I've Done"), "With or Without You" ("Shadow of the Day") and a breakup ballad that could have been written by the Matrix ("Leave Out All the Rest"). Sometimes the band hits: The hand clap-powered "Bleed It Out" works up a nice lather, and Shinoda's anti-war monologue "Hands Held High" proves there might yet be more in Linkin Park's backpack than self-doubt and identity crises. --Jeff Vrabel