The Dave Matthews Band may not have released the Lillywhite Sessions – the semi-legendary soul-searching album recorded in 2000 but abandoned in favor of the heavy-handed, laborious Glen Ballard-produced Everyday – but they couldn't escape its shadow. Every review, every article surrounding the release of Everyday mentioned it, often claiming it was better than the released project – an opinion the band seemed to support by playing many numbers from the widely bootlegged lost album on tour in 2001. Since they couldn't run away from the Lillywhite Sessions, they decided to embrace it, albeit on their own terms. They didn't just release the album, as is. They picked nine of the best songs from the sessions, reworked some of them a bit, tinkered with the lyrics, re-recorded the tunes with a different producer (Stephen Harris, a veteran of post-Brit-pop bands like the Bluetones, plus engineer on U2's All That You Can't Leave Behind), added two new songs, and came up with Busted Stuff, a polished commercial spin on music widely considered the darkest, most revealing work Matthews has yet created.
Billed as the first official collection of live bootleg recordings, the triple-disc For Lack of Honest Work is a live anthology stretching back to live-in-the-studio recordings of “It Wouldn’t Have Made Any Difference” and “Broke Down and Busted” in Philadelphia from 1971 and running all the way to 2006, when Todd belts out “I Hate My Frickin’ ISP” in Toronto. In between these extremes are many other extremes – Todd indulging in the early days of Utopia, cuts from his A Cappella tour, a doo wop arrangement of “Real Man,” a synthesized piss-take of “Bang on the Drum,” a solo electric “Hammer in Your Heart,” slickly accomplished on-stage jamming – all loosely arranged so the first disc contains the poppiest material, the second the proggiest, the third his mature phase. It’s not quite a straight-on realist portrait but a hazy abstract impression of Todd’s multifaceted abilities, with the overall range being somewhat more impressive than individual moments.