The quintessential 1980s girl group released God Bless The Go-Go’s May 15, and will back it up with a tour of mostly outdoor venues, casinos and theatres. The caravan marks the first headlining jaunt by the original group in almost two decades.

The Go-Go’s got back together last year and toured as a co-headliner with The B-52’s, then decided to record a reunion album of new material.

The artwork on the band’s Web site and CD cover immediately earned the gals the wrath of the Catholic League, which chastised the group for appropriating imagery of the Virgin Mary and other quasi-religious symbolism.

Elsewhere in the controversy department, lead singer Carlisle decided to shed those Marian robes – and everything else – for a spread in Playboy. She recently owned up to the photo shoot, which she did in December for the magazine’s August issue.

“It’s sort of an homage to the sort of Vargas style, ‘50s pinup,” Carlisle said May 16 on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” where she performed with the four other members of the band, whose hits include “Our Lips Are Sealed.”

Carlisle and the other Go-Go’s – guitarists Jane Weidlin and Charlotte Caffey, drummer Gina Schock, and bass player Kathy Valentine all have had solo careers since their last album, 1984’s Talk Show. While they’ve worked together in various combinations over the years, 2001 sees them back in full force and apparently little worse for wear.

While the band’s brand of new wave pop didn’t spark the riot grrrl scene or the rise of female alt-rockers, The Go-Go’s definitely helped pave the way. With their punk-rock roots and full-on rock ‘n’ roll lifestyles, this was no bubblegum group.

Their reign at the top of the charts only lasted three years but their impact resonated long after. There was no Svengali-like male mastermind behind the group; the bandmates played the instruments, wrote the songs and made them stick.