Did The Libertines' drug-and-scandal-fueled collapse cost them a spot in the great rock firmament, or assure it? Despite releasing two well-reviewed albums, The Libertines were relatively low-profile in the U.S. prior to their break-up, but once Pete Doherty started getting his name splashed across American tabloids, The Libertines' name began getting bandied about more frequently in record reviews. They've since become one of those great "what if" bands, referenced as an example of what young, boozy rockers can aspire to—musically, if not professionally.
The best-of collection Time For Heroes makes a strong case for The Libertines as a band worthy of the retroactive canonization (even if it took a few coke busts for them to get there). By adding a couple of non-LP tracks to the highlights of their two hit-and-miss albums, the band has arguably—and at long last—delivered their essential work. Time For Heroes could use more material from The Libertines' richer, more complex second album, which deepened the slovenly pub-punk of Up The Bracket. Still, over the course of 13 songs and 40 minutes, this compilation surveys early '00s UK nightlife with wit, casual charm and reckless energy. It's hard to say whether Time For Heroes should set the stage for a comeback, or close the book on The Libertines forever. How could the likely lads top this?