Many critics consider Westerberg's former band the Replacements to be one of the most important bands of the '80s. The band grew up drunk in public, from a snotty Punk band to a brilliantly sloppy rock 'n' roll outfit whose anti-hero attitude and brilliant (Westerberg-penned) songs helped pave the way for the alt-rock gold rush of the '90s. The 'Mats never had any chart success, however, and Westerberg as a solo artist hasn't had much to speak of, either. The sound of his solo records is a blend of acoustic guitar or piano-driven ballads, as well as Stones rockers sung in his cigarette-burnished, torn shirt cuff of a voice. His lyrics still deal with issues of love, alienation and loss, but now they're much more introspective and mature. The fact that he is no longer the drunken Dylan Thomas of Indie Rock has left some critics scratching their heads, but he'll probably still be making excellent music long after they've retired.