The new New York Dolls have now been around longer - and released more albums (three) - than the old New York Dolls, and they're commemorating that new longevity by letting go of any compulsion they may have still harbored to honor their designation as "punk-rock progenitors." Last time out, on 2009's 'Cause I Sez So, survivors David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain invited Todd Rundgren to reprise the production role he'd played on the band's '73 debut. The result (this writer scribbled in these very pages at the time) was an album with "all the swagger, muscle, righteous kitsch, and ballsy defiance" of Dolls I. Dancing Backward in High Heels breaks free of that. Here, Dolls II make their move, surging forward while simultaneously nodding to a time that predates even that first über-influential incarnation. Produced by new bassist Jason Hill (their other new recruit is former Blondie guitarist Frank Infante), the new songs are one big smiley face, the Dolls' most unabashedly pop to date, bathed in ooh-ah-ooh harmonies and sonic signatures borrowed from Motown, Spector, and Nuggets-y garage rock. Johansen's having a good old time dropping rhymes that should make any hip-hopper envious (from "I'm So Fabulous": nebulous/fabulous/insidious/ridiculous; from "Baby, Tell Me What I'm On": "Curtain of the universe/Is torn it needs a nurse"). The one tune that doesn't belong? A retooled, Stax-meets-Sly-in-girl-group-heaven "Funky But Chic," rehashed from the first Johansen solo album but weak in the knees compared with the ballsier original.