This won't be the first time I've defended Stone Temple Pilots in these pages, and if Scott Weiland and company keep touring, it probably won't be the last. That's a big "if," though, considering what a tumultuous career these guys have endured.

This won't be the first time I've defended Stone Temple Pilots in these pages, and if Scott Weiland and company keep touring, it probably won't be the last. That's a big "if," though, considering what a tumultuous career these guys have endured.

Furthermore, the mediocre music on STP's contract-mandated new album isn't helping my case. Not to mention the questionable content of "Shangri-La Dee Da," the forgettable fifth LP they released in 2001.

Still, although it's been more than a decade since the Pilots released anything spectacular, those first four albums? Yeah, they're pretty spectacular.

Don't believe me? Go back and experience the brutal power of "Down," the dramatic flair of "Trippin' On a Hole In a Paper Heart" and the eerie intensity of "Lounge Fly." They may well be douche bags, but they're also much more than a Pearl Jam rip-off.

Cage the Elephant opens.