Some of the songs on the Muffs' new album -- among them "Prettier Than Me," "Room With No View" and "Dear Liar Love Me" -- suggest that singer-songwriter Kim Shattuck has self-esteem problems. Yet the title of the L.A. trio's fourth long-player is celebratory. "Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow" sounds like a traffic safety slogan, but in this case it clearly refers to a small triumph: Unlike so many alt-rock bands dumped by major labels, the Muffs have lived to record another day.

The group initially sounds pretty buzzed about this; the intro of the album-opening "I Wish That I Could Be You" crashes like "Pinball Wizard." Several of the subsequent tunes, however, are melancholy enough for Nashville, and even such up-tempo ones as "I'm Not Around" have a newfound twang to them. Shattuck and her cohorts still draw much of their inspiration from full-throttle '70s popsters like the Ramones and Suzi Quatro, but on this album they're discovering somebody's roots.

Appearing Thursday at the 9:30 club with the Prissteens and Buck. To hear a free Sound Bite from the Muffs, call Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and press 8108. (Prince William residents, call 690-4110.)