I own numerous b-side compilations from many different artists. I also own both of The Killers cds "Hot Fuss" and "Sam's Town". Generally speaking, b-side compilations tend to be on the average side--unfinished, rough drafts of songs that didn't quite make the cut. Every once in a while I find a b-side compilation that contains a-sides, or songs that should have made the Top 40. Case in point, Pet Shop Boys 1995 b-side compilation "Alternative". More often than not, however, b-side compilations are a mixed blessing such as Tears For Fears' "Saturnine Lunatic & Marshal" or Cake's "B-Sides & Rarities". Even U2's second discs from "Best Of U2 1980-1990" and "Best Of U2 1990-2000" were hit and miss.
So what about "Sawdust"? Well, there are some good songs like their cover of Joy Division's "Shadowplay", their cover of Kenny Rogers' "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town"(although Cake's version is equally as good), and their cover of Dire Straits' "Romeo & Juliet". Other reasonably good songs include the remix of "Mr. Brightside", the Abbey Road version of "Sam's Town", "Who Let You Go?", "Where The White Boys Dance", "Under The Gun", "Leave The Bourbon On The Shelf", "All The Pretty Faces" and "Glamorous Indie Rock And Roll" and maybe even "Move Away". The other songs felt average to me. I was particularly disappointed with "Tranquilize" and Lou Reed. I've heard much better from Reed and The Killers and "Tranquilize" felt like such a waste of a potentially great moment.
I agree with some of the other reviewers here that with only two cds The Killers are pushing it here. Most artists don't put out a b-sides until they have at least 5 or 6 albums out, sometimes much more. Yet, I see the Gorillaz have done the same thing with their "D-Sides" after only two cds (which I will review next week). Overall, "Sawdust" is fifty-fifty. There's some good songs and some not-so-good songs. I didn't feel there were any great songs here. "Hot Fuss" and "Sam's Town" contain some great songs surrounded by some good songs. "Sawdust" is just a stop-gap between albums, and a chance for The Killers and the record company to cash in at the holiday time.