Perhaps the NME is having a little joke, slapping yet another Libertines cover on the front of an issue in which is frets over the future of indie music.
It's thinky-piece is inspired by another in Music Week, which ran some statistics suggesting "sales of rock and indie [singles] have nosedived" while urban and pop have increased. Nicky Wire's theatrical yawning over the current state of music - a tradition as old and regular as The Queen's Christmas Speech - has also been stirred into the mix.
Naturally, any subscriber to Music Week would simply shrug here; music goes through cyclical boom-and-busts; sometimes Abba does well; sometimes the sales go to Oasis.
In fact, any subscriber to Music Week would not even bother shrugging; telling the music industry that pop and urban are doing better than rock is like telling a baker demand for macaroons is up while eccles cakes are struggling; for them, it's nuances on the total sales, not really a matter of great concern.
The conflation of 'rock' and 'indie' into one great supersegment perhaps suggests part of the reason why guitars are struggling a bit down at the sales floor - they shouldn't be the same thing at all, and yet who can really argue there's a reason to treat Guns N Roses, Kings Of Leon and The Cribs as if they were different beasts? The product line has been shrunk way too far; why wouldn't you expect people to turn away?
Indie doesn't really have any useful meaning any more, except perhaps when paired with a sneering 'schmindie'; if a genre has lost any distinctiveness, of course it will look dead.
Mind you, judging the health of any type of music simply by looking at chart positions and singles sales is a bit dodgy; it's like counting the number of horseshoes sold to try and work out how many people are making journeys in the UK. The loose correlation might have meant something once, but by now, it's frankly worthless as a measure.
Look at how the NME tries to take The Cribs as a test of indie-health:
The Cribs are a case in point - up until Cheat On Me in 2009, their previous singles had all cracked the Top 40. Cheat On Me entered the charts at number 80. Their next single, this year's Housewife, debuted at 105.There's a few things here - firstly, it assumes that all Cribs singles are equal and equally good.
Secondly, with singles sales quite low, the difference between 105 and 80 - and probably 80 and 40 - is only going to be a handful of sales.
More importantly, Housewife was a "surprise download-only single", so its relatively low sales don't really count. Oh, and none of the singles taken from the first album even troubled the Top 40. And last year's album, Ignore The Ignorant, reached number 8 and went silver, the best performance by a Cribs record yet. So the proof cited here is simply wrong, and even if it was accurate, it wouldn't prove anything anyway.
To be fair, Barry Nicholson does eventually rally his piece, quoting The Wild Beasts' Tom Fleming suggesting Music Week might be a bit irrelevant, and pointing to the buoyant live sales (albeit of The Courteeners), but he still concludes that "indie isn't dead, but it is hurting". But indie is dead, Barry. Interesting music on the margins isn't, and we should be celebrating that the plodding constraints of the mangled indie brandings are finally slipping away.
A little box suggests there's a bright future, and includes The Kings Of Leon in there. Perhaps the NME is having a little joke, like suggesting tumours might be a cure for cancer.