Some of my problem may be the production, which is a repetitive fuzz that often masks Pearl Jam and doesn't allow them enough room to establish themselves on the songs. Also, Neil's lyrics often seem oddly focused on talking about old hippie themes ("Jimi's playin' in the back room/Led Zeppelin's on the stage"), which strikes me as inappropriately retrospective considering the nature of this collaboration. He should be looking ahead, not back.
Still, there is some good material here, "Song X," "Downtown," and "Peace and Love," all solid hard rock songs with a good groove. The best song is easily "I'm the Ocean," 7-minutes of Neil and Pearl Jam blasting away at the same four chords over and over again that somehow never gets boring, and in fact seems to grow with intensity every second. (The final track, "Fallen Angel" uses the same melody, but is just Neil singing and playing an organ). I have a feeling that the material on this album would have come off better live, where Pearl Jam could have really dug into the material and put their stamp on it.
Rating: B -
Sadly, I do not own Merkin Ball, the companion release, a 2 track single with Neil playing back-up to Pearl Jam, although I really should try to pick it up some day.