Among all the crappy postgrunge bands like Creed and Days of the New, each a worm-infested street mutt hoping to con you into taking him home, there awaits a neglected puppy just waiting to be picked up and played with. This cuddly creature is a Knoxville, Tennessee, quartet named Superdrag, a group that makes good, fun music in this bleak Limp Bizkit era, not that many of us know about it, thanks to that corporate bitch known as the major label.

You remember these boys, don't you? They're the ones who brought you the Elvis Costello-like "Sucked Out," a hit from their debut, Regretfully Yours. The follow-up, Head Trip in Every Key, brought us that delightful little ditty "Do the Vampire," an anthem to apathy wrapped in a melody that made you smile ("Dead on the inside / We don't wanna know / Dead on the inside … We don't really want to know what's going on").

And now Superdrag brings us its latest album, In the Valley of Dying Stars, a solid, cheerful chunk of guitar-based rock. While the band was in the writing process, bassist Tom Pappas left the group, and the remaining three members (drummer Don Coffey Jr., vocalist/guitarist John Davis and guitarist Brandon Fisher) went into the studio. In an uncommon move, the band defected from Elektra after recording half the session and resumed production at its new studio in Knoxville under its own label, Arena Rock Recording Company, and with new bassist Sam Powers. Superdrag sounds better than ever, and we, as music lovers, should welcome this show of corporate disobedience whenever it rears its cute, floppy little head. All together now: Say awww.

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Melanie Haupt