In spite of the 24/7 circus of his personal life, Pete Doherty is a songwriter who borders on the voice of a generation. And while his chemistry with former partner Carl Barât yielded two stunning records for The Libertines, Doherty's Babyshambles has yet to bear fruit. Still, the group's sophomore effort, Shotter's Nation, is within pissing distance of decency: The disc quakes with Doherty's wry, mumbled storytelling and strangled guitar pop. But there remains a gaping hole where Barât, sobriety, or perhaps sanity should be. Doherty is no mad genius—he's just mad, and it shows in Nation's slipshod execution and undernourished songcraft. With middling bands like Arctic Monkeys easily beating him at his own game, there's no better time than now for Doherty to get his shit together. Too bad Shotter's Nation won't be the album to do it.

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