Everclear has made one enduring classic (1995's Sparkle And Fade), two more keepers (1993's World Of Noise and 1997's So Much For The Afterglow), and, in the years since, an assortment of mostly disposable filler. Happily, the Portland band's creative decline seemed to accompany the slaughter of its frontman's personal demons—give Art Alexakis credit for dispensing with his bleakest confessionals when he ran out of new stuff to confess—but did he have to develop such an unappealing persona in the process? The 2003 single "Volvo Driving Soccer Mom" marked a particularly dire low point, as Alexakis' trite observations about aging rebels reeked of smug condescension.
Ten Years Gone spans most of the group's career, but it's got two crucial flaws working against it: One, because Capitol doesn't own the rights, World Of Noise is outrageously underrepresented, and two, the set scrambles Everclear's chronology, shuffling late-period duds and covers in among some of the best rock songs of the '90s. When past-their-prime acts put out greatest-hits sets, it helps if the discs are assembled chronologically, so fans of, say, Billy Squier know to quit about three tracks into disc two. Instead, this pockmarked collection makes Everclear seem maddeningly inconsistent, instead of what it is: once brilliant, but well past its prime.