Forget Live at Leeds and Tommy, this is a different band altogheter. Subtle play, synths, powerful lyrics, but more importantly, epic story. Whereas Tommy was pretty simple, Quadrophenia tackles a complex concept, each band member playing a different personality of schizophrenic Jimmy, and delivers an almost 2 hour record.
So, this isn't blues oriented heavy metal, and far from the macho rock of before, this is what Pete townshend wanted, a musical painting, each song adding color and dynamic to the canvas. Unfortunately, the song choice isn't as good as the one on Tommy (very few hooks) and the synths, well, they sound dated (and that's an euphemism).
But even then, this record is something to listen to at least once, since it closes the end of the "mod" period of The Who. As Jimmy is standing on a rock at sea, lonely, cold and finally at peace with himself, The Who comes to terms with their eventful period of drugs, booze and instruments wrecking of the 60's with Life, Reign O'er Me.
If you could get rid of the space age synths and bring back a much more rock orientated production, this could have been a classic on par with Who's Next. But, unfortunately, it captures pretty well the turmoil and undecision that would plague the band until nowadays.