Considering that it's an album of leftovers -- one B-side from Yes, Virginia..., four unreleased recordings, one old demo, a cover, and five new recordings, to be exact -- the songs on No, Virginia... are unexpectedly strong. Comprised of material from five years together as a duo, these are the numbers that were left off the Dresden Dolls' prior releases because, according to singer/pianist Amanda Palmer, she tends to shy away from her pop side. This definitely seems to be the case, as the pop sensibilities on this record are more exposed, and shining brighter than ever before. When compared to the edgier numbers on the first two albums, the majority of tunes feel like potential singles: a strange concept for a punk cabaret group. But it's a kinder, gentler burlesque show this time around. A demo of "Mouse and the Model" shows off Palmer's delicate side, with her husky boisterousness forgone for weary swooning, as does "Boston," a slow building power ballad that by all means should have made the cut of Yes, Virginia... had it not overextended the running time. In fact, all of the new songs, which were recorded with the previous album's producer Sean Slade, could have blended into the mix of songs on the similarly themed and produced Yes, Virginia... if not for the fact that they were just too upbeat, with interfering big melodies and major chord progressions. That's the strange world of the Dresden Dolls. One where the powerful catchy hooks get the axe, while the more somber and obscured tracks make the cut. It also exposes the primary problem with trying to establish yourself as an originator of your own "Brechten" genre: if the songs aren't baroque enough, they get tossed and replaced with the ones that are more defining of your character. Luckily, the discarded gems finally found a home, rewarding fans with some of Palmer and Brian Viglione's most intimate and accessible moments, along with a solid cover of "Pretty in Pink" originally released on a John Hughes-inspired High School Reunion compilation.
AllMusic Review by Jason Lymangrover