"We got a hit." Mostly.
You can argue as much as you want whether it's The Who, or, as Roger Daltrey is fond of putting it, Who2, or as some have jokingly said, "The Two," or should have been a Pete Townshend album, or should have simply been called Townshend/Daltrey, but the fact remains the same: Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey have recorded and put new music out together again after 24 years of not doing so.
And it's not your old Who, either. It's not The Who of Who's Next or Tommy or really even Quadrophenia. Was anyone really even expecting that? What Endless Wire presents is the "mature" Who that emerged during and after Quadrophenia, the one that really began its life with The Who By Numbers and, for all intents and purposes, ended with It's Hard. A kinder, gentler Who, maybe, a bit more thoughtful and pensive rather than wound up and destructive.
With any mention of The Who comes cries that the band died when drummer Keith Moon died in 1978, but the reality is that The Who people loved was already long gone. It's easiest to tell by the evidence left in the wake of Moon's passing -- Who Are You, the final album with Moon, is a far cry from the rancorous band that tore up stages earlier in the same decade, but the band hadn't been that crazy, riotous institution it had been, at least musically, for at least a couple of albums. Moon's death, while a tragic blow, was not the end of The Who's wild days many want to think it was. The Who had already been winding down for a few years.
With powerhouse bassist John Entwistle now gone, too, it's easy to see how some long-time fans might have a hard time accepting anything new under the old Who moniker. But with an album of songs this accomplished, it's hard to hold too much of a grudge against survivors Townshend and Daltrey for opting to use the old name. It may have been more respectable to go out as a duo, but it certainly doesn't pack the same wollop as saying "We're The Who."