• The Killers, 'Sam's Town' (Island)

    The most successful British new-wave band ever to emerge from the Mojave Desert, the Killers are also a quintessential Vegas act -- a gaudy triumph of pastiche and artifice. The quartet's 2004 debut, Hot Fuss, which sold five million copies worldwide, was a slick, brash replica, complete with mild foppery and accents redolent of Anglo imports on early MTV. Their defiantly overstuffed follow-up, Sam's Town, epitomizes Vegas in a more literal sense. The album is named for an off-Strip casino, and it often brings to mind one of the city's not-so-glamorous institutions: the all-you-can-eat buffet. Image-conscious as ever, the Killers are now trying to shake their pretty-boy tag.

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