A curious coda from a truly peculiar bunch. Who Cares a Lot is the swan song of the most engaging band to come to the fore when the late-'80s and early-'90s funk-punk hordes defiled the land. What set the San Francisco-based quintet apart all the lukewarm Chili Peppers of the time was powerful musicianship (few hard-rock bands could match them onstage in their Real Thing prime) and a contrary disposition. When the sweeping "Epic" briefly transformed FNM into MTV darlings, they responded by recording their most challenging work, the jarringly unpredictable Angel Dust, a commercial lapse from which they never quite recovered. Then there was their unsettling taste for easy-listening sounds, rather too generously evidenced on this best-of package by Lionel Richie's "Easy," Bacharach and David's "This Guy's in Love with You," the Bee Gees' "I Started a Joke," and "Theme from Midnight Cowboy." Their adrenaline-drunk fans never knew whether to cry or laugh. Of course, their trademark extreme alt-rap-metal forays are also in evidence, from 1987's "We Care a Lot" (a puncturing parody of altruistic star sing-alongs) to the half dozen turn-out-the-lights tracks from 1998. Ultimately, no one ever found solace in Faith No More, but, as Who Cares a Lot affirms, they were often beyond belief. --Steven Stolder

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