The Figgs are one of those alternative rock leftovers you sorta kinda remember. Well, there are no "sortas" or "kindas" involved when it comes to the band's die-hard fan base, which thinks of the Figgs as nothing less than the best power-pop combo of the last decade-plus. They have released more than 10 slabs of good hooks and gruff-but-never-grim harmonies, and lately have performed as Graham Parker's backup band. If they've become an alt-rock afterthought, it's because their angstless meat 'n' potatoes pop never fit into that disaffected landscape.
But like many of the back-to-basics ilk, once they keep at it for 15-plus years, as the Figgs have, the sound can't help but get stale. Their new double CD, Palais (Sodapop/Stomper Records), is a snappy improvement over the bland bar-band rock of 2002's Slow Charm (Hearbox).