The convoluted and always-interesting career of Iggy Pop took a turn for the better with the release of New Values in 1979. With his tormented years with the Stooges and his pair of studio collaborations with David Bowie behind him, he was ready to fully claim his mantle as a punk rock avatar. He shows his young imitators how it’s done on cheerfully nihilistic numbers like “Billy Is a Runaway,” “Tell Me a Story,” and New Values’ title track, declaiming his perverse pronouncements with glee. Playing off his self-destructive reputation, he wrestles with pint-sized lust in “Five Foot One” and battles ennui to a draw in “I’m Bored.” Taking on his crooner persona, he revels in the damaged balladry of “Angel” and “How Do Ya Fix a Broken Part.” Pop is ably supported by the likes of ex-Stooges Scott Thurston and James Williamson, who veer from unleashing crunchy riffs to laying down sultry soul grooves. With the exception of the borderline-racist “African Man,” every number here is worth commendation. New Values marks a high point in the Ig’s erratic career, bristling with well-focused nervous energy and strategic bad taste.