Like so many adolescents, Imperial Teen has finally outgrown its awkward period. First, the band endured the schoolyard gossip that accompanied its 1995 debut album, Seasick, back when the buzz about the band focused more on its personnel than its sound. ("Ohmygod, did you hear the keyboardist used to be in Faith No More? And he's gay! And there's a chick drummer too!") With its happy handclaps, boy-girl harmonies and fuzzy guitars, Imperial Teen triggered widespread infatuation -- and even endured a major-label dumping. Now, with its third album, On, the San Francisco quartet has entered a phase not unlike a self-assured senior year. Imperial Teen's newfound confidence in its own cool transcends what anyone else -- from critical journalists to corporate-rock bullies -- thinks about the band's sugary sound. Imperial Teen has reinforced its already strong style, which combines the head-bopping energy of new wave with sunny threads of the Lovin' Spoonful and the harder-edged influence of the Pixies. After a recent tour supporting the Breeders, Imperial Teen opens for Better Than Ezra, which should make for some interesting mingling.