To follow up their hit debut album, Cage the Elephant had to do something truly fantastic. For their sophomore effort, “Thank You Happy Birthday,” Cage seems to have accidentally stumbled on what could be called a valiant effort and a worthy successor.

People know Cage the Elephant widely for the mainstream success of their single “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked,” which was largely overplayed by the end of the 2009. For those who enjoyed that single, “Birthday” is going to be largely something new from the 5-piece alternative rock outfit.

The album opens up strong with “Always Something,” a heavy, rhythm-driven power anthem that is sure to please Cage’s mainstream and casual audience. In general, “Thank You Happy Birthday” is lightly sprinkled with songs people would expect from Cage such as their latest single “Shake Me Down.”

Things get messy when Cage taps into their punk and grunge influences with songs like “Aberdeen” and “Around My Head.” These songs feature frantic tempos and lazy vocals over sloppy arrangements that are probably much better live than on the album. Still, these strange punk songs have a boyish charm that, when juxtaposed with every other song on the album, aren’t too offensive to the ears of the casual listener.

Cage could have easily left off a few tracks such as “Rubber Ball,” an intimate, acoustic number which is about three minutes too long and they definitely should not have ended the album with the pseudo-psychedelic “Flow” which is just plain strange.

Overall, “Thank You Happy Birthday” is a mess of an album, but is accessible to a wide audience and serves as a testament to the writing and performing talents of a fantastic band rising to great heights.