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Takin' Out the Trash 

Todd Rundgren driving the Cars? We'll steer clear of that.

The Cars are back, though this promises to be one Yugo of a reunion. With the new-wave revival in full swing and groups like Franz Ferdinand becoming as unavoidable as death and Bono, it was only a matter of time before the Cars got their motor runnin' again. And rightfully so. Of all the new-wavers, they were the least pretentious and the most rockin'.

But any anticipation over the Cars hitting the road again was soon dashed when it was announced that friggin' Todd Rundgren would take over for frontman Ric Ocasek, who declined to participate in the reunion. Nothing against Rundgren, who's actually kinda underrated as a progressive pop songwriter, but the guy's hopelessly miscast here, like Alf being asked to star in Schindler's List.

Granted, the bug-eyed Ocasek is pretty creepy -- dude looks more like a praying mantis than a rock star -- but without his droll, deadpan delivery and oddball presence, the Cars will be stuck in neutral. Moreover, Cars singer-bassist Ben Orr died of cancer in 2000, which means the band will be making the rounds without its two most identifiable members. It all makes this one of the lamest reunions in recent memory, a crappy cash-in that's about as welcome as the return of the Edsel. Join us, then, as we toss the Cars' new lemon of a lineup onto the compost heap.

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