"We understand a lot more how to interact with a crowd," he said. "After many years of trying, we've found a groove where we understand that we're not just playing to a wall, but to people who are receiving and emitting as well."

The improvement in the band's performance has not been lost on critics.

In early April, the Strokes performed at Madison Square Garden in New York City the night before LCD Soundsystem's last show ever.

The two bands had come of age in the same time period, but as the Strokes lost critical acclaim and fans, James Murphy and LCD accumulated almost unrivaled respect and fan-boy devotion.

Yet Jon Caramanica, writing in The New York Times, said it was the suddenly revved-up Strokes who put on the better show, noting Casablancas' "beautifully woozy voice" and the band's "invigorating" guitar work.

Fraiture said it's not untrue that they've become better live than on record.

"Back in the day it was fun and it was great, but it was a lot loose. It wasn't as consistent," he said. "I would say that the energy is definitely stronger now. It's not as hit-or-miss anymore."



If you go

The Strokes perform Sunday as part of the Sweetlife Music Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia. The festival begins at noon. Tickets are $55. Call 410-730-3506 or go to ticketfly.com.