I've been a Placebo fan for a long long time, so I bought this album the day it came out. I really didn't expect it to be a masterpiece like the 2nd album, mainly because of the reviews that where all so-so. But still I played it 2 or 3 times week.
Now after a couple of months, the only word that I can use to describe this album is FLAWLESS! It is one of the very few albums in my (not so small!) collection that I can listen from start to finish without even thinking of skipping a song.
The first track, which is an instrumental, is just perfect. The only other rock instrumental that has such a central place in its album (IMO) is Orion from Metallica's Master of Puppets.
After this, all you get is one great song after the other. Placebo's uptempo songs have always been winners for me (and there are plenty of great ones here, This Picture, Bitter End, Plasticine), but I think their genius is more apparent in the slow songs.
In this album, they opt to really experiment with the slow songs and the results are spectacular. The weird electronic noises in Something Rotten are used most brilliantly to maximize its claustrophobic and paranoid mood. The chorus-less I'll Be Yours just builds up the tension without releasing it, and when it ends misery is all you are allowed to feel.
Oh by the way, the lyrics have never been central to Placebo's songs, they are almost always vehicles for Brian Molko's _____( I can't come up with a satisfactory adjective!) voice. So if you don't seem to connect with the songs, try to focus on the texture underneath, and not to "decipher" the lyrics!