The Constantines are one of Canada's best musical exports, ranking up there with the Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene for sheer energy and invention. Their smoldering working-class rock anthems for the indie set are like a cross between the Clash, Mission of Burma, the Jesus & Mary Chain, and TV on the Radio. Their latest record, Tournament of Hearts
, was one of the best releases of 2005, a brooding, intelligent work that telescoped their influences into 37 minutes of tightly coiled rock. Bryan Webb delivers ruthlessly honest polemics and love songs that never condescend or romanticize, while singing like the musical offspring of Joe Strummer and Greg Dulli -- the passion is always palpable. Drummer Doug MacGregor may be the band's not-so-secret weapon, providing thunder, shading, or propulsion where called for. Throughout their increasingly impressive catalog, the Constantines' songs pulse with menacing energy not often found in the indie world. It's dark, but illuminating nonetheless.