The unthinkable has happened. In the cynical annals of alt rock fandom, reunions began living up to what fans fantasized about. In the 2000s, Mission of Burma and Dinosaur Jr. were quick to prove that they could pick up right where they left off, and now their original lineups have created just as much product as their original tenure. Sunny Day Real Estate split up before their second album was even released in 1995, but re-formed three years later with a gorgeous shift in direction: "Guitar and Video Games" introduced timeless, ethereal pop whimsy to indie before The Shins even existed.
Punks like Wire, New York Dolls and The Stooges polished up their noise in the 2000s, too, while early '80s avant-goth pioneers Swans have developed into a creepy and epic rival to Godspeed You! Black Emperor, whose own reunion album in 2012 was their darkest to date. Alice in Chains maintained their crunch with new singer William DuVall, while Nine Inch Nails' Hesitation Marks plays with sexy, danceable whispers. Superchunk's post-hiatus records are some of the best in their two-decade career. And the Pixies, who just released their first EP of new material since 1991, are as unpredictable as ever.