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P.O.D., “When Angels & Serpents Dance” (INO/Columbia) **1/2

P.O.D. has been in an odd kind of holding pattern since original guitarist Marcos Curiel left in 2003, sounding a little off the mark it set with early decade hits such as “Boom!” and “Alive.” After a two-album absence Curiel returns to the fold and helps the San Diego headbangers deliver their most mature and ambitious outing to date, feeding the mosh pit on tracks such as “Addicted,” “End of the World,” “Condescending” and “God Forbid,” the latter with Helmet’s Paige Hamilton. But P.O.D. charts an even broader course with the roots reggae-flavored “I’ll Be Ready” (with the Marley Sisters), the slinky funk of “Kaliforn-Eye-A” (with Suicidal Tendencies’ Mike Muir), the Spanish guitardriven instrumental “Roman Empire,” the bluesier touch of “Rain Everyday” and mellower fare such as “This Ain’t No Ordinary Love Song” and “Tell Me Why.” It’s a fresh start to P.O.D. rather than merely returning to the good old days.