Filter survived the various slings and arrows slung at them during the new millennium, proving that they still had an audience by getting both 2008's Anthems for the Damned and 2010's The Trouble with Angels into the Top 100 of the Billboard 200.
It was enough to get a major label interested, and 2013's The Sun Comes Out Tonight popped up on EMI, which explains some of the slickness of the album.
Surely, there is still a bit of ballast -- the album opens up with a roar on "Burn It" and it occasionally circles back around to this processed, distorted rush (witness the self-lacerating "Self Inflicted," the closest this album gets to "Hey Man, Nice Shot," or the almost parodic "This Finger's for You") but generally, The Sun Comes Out Tonight skews toward the shimmering, melodic end of adult-alternative rock, a sound that fits Filter's age if not their reputation.
That said, the smoothness that permeates The Sun Comes Out Tonight is not entirely out of character for the group: there is a modernity to their production and intent, especially in how the group never pushes, even letting their surges seem soothing ("This Finger's for You" bears a confrontational title, but it feels friendly, even with its jacked-up volume).
Where Filter fall short is in how they retain the patina of Hot Topic, how they still seem to chaff against the inevitability of their maturity, but underneath that blustering, the group manage to ease back and act their age, and that detached cool exterior is why The Sun Comes Out Tonight is the most satisfying latter-day album this group has yet made.