Following the success of “Hot Fuss” and “Sam’s Town,” the Killers have released “Sawdust,” their first B-sides and rarities album. “Sawdust” was ostensibly released to keep fans satisfied until The Killers’ next studio album. This album is made up of a strange mix of songs that follows the band’s sound from the early brit-pop vibes of “Hot Fuss” to the grander sounds of “Sam’s Town.” The album brings together covers, collaborations, remixes and unreleased tracks, which leaves it incoherent at times. While this CD may not be made up of entirely original Killers songs, they manage to leave their distinct mark on every track and hold this CD together. Their first single is the highly publicized “Tranquilize,” a track on which they collaborated with Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famer Lou Reed. Reed’s partnership with the band’s lead singer Brandon Flowers leads to a new, distinctive sound for the band. The song’s introduction, made up of a slow marching beat, sets the tone for the rest of the track. “Tranquilize” is a very unexpected first single. Unlike the rest of their singles, “Tranquilize” lacks the upbeat vocals and catchy choruses that made them famous. Instead, it offers a darker, heavier and slower sound. Conversely, upbeat vocals and catchy choruses are all the Killers have to offer on “Shadowplay,” a cover of Joy Division’s classic song. However, the Killers’ pop sensibilities are a poor match for “Shadowplay.” The song loses some of its original melancholy and meaning in this transformation from heavy percussion to bubbling beats. While it may not do the original version justice, this single sounds more like the Killers than “Tranquilize.” The Killers redeem themselves, however, with the compelling cover of The Dire Straits’ song, “Romeo and Juliet.” Flowers’ vocals are highlighted as the band ditches synthesizers and over-production for a simple live recording. The simplicity of this cover makes it one of the best tracks on the album. Even though the Killers do not stray far from the original, they still manage to infuse the song with a bit of themselves. “Leave the Bourbon on the Shelf” is another track worth listening to. The song stands out, because it leans toward rock and roll much more than the rest of the album. It features a catchy chorus and strangely sweet lyrics. The lyrics are a man’s last plea to an ex-girlfriend. The sentiment flip-flops between alcoholic and emotional, making it a strange new breed of love song. Flowers sings, “Leave the bourbon on the shelf and I’ll drink it by myself. And I’ll love you endlessly.” If you are going to download any song from this CD, we highly recommend this one. Jacques Lu Cont’s Thin White Duke Remix of “Mr. Brightside,” originally from “Hot Fuss,” holds its own as the only remix on the CD. Lu Cont is a well-known British electronic musician who has worked with a variety of artists including Madonna, Missy Elliot and Gwen Stefani. Last year he remixed the Killers’ single “When We Were Young” and, on “Sawdust,” he comes back to do it again. He adds a buoyant feel to the song and gives it a whole new vibe. This CD delivers hits and misses in almost equal measure. Given the Killers’ previous success, we expected more from them on “Sawdust” than what we got. Considering the fact that the stakes are not as high on a B-sides and rarities album, however, we can forgive them. Although this album did not live up to the standards set by previous albums, it is still a great addition to any loyal Killers fan’s collection. It may not, however, be enough for casual Killers listeners. The Killers experimented with many different sounds and styles on the album, which makes for a diverse listening experience. Their willingness to experiment with the sound is promising and gives us hope for their next studio album.