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We present the PARROT concept that seeks to achieve higher performance with reduced energy consumption through gradual optimization of frequently executed code traces. The PARROT microarchitectural framework integrates trace caching, dynamic optimizations and pipeline decoupling. We employ a selective approach for applying complex mechanisms only upon the most frequently used traces to maximize the performance gain at any given power constraint, thus attaining finer control of tradeoffs between performance and power awareness. We show that the PARROT based microarchitecture can improve the performance of aggressively designed processors by providing the means to improve the utilization of their more elaborate resources. At the same time, rigorous selection of traces prior to storage and optimization provides the key to attenuating increases in the power budget. For resource-constrained designs, PARROT based architectures deliver better performance (up to an average 16% increase in IPC) at a comparable energy level, whereas the conventional path to a similar performance improvement consumes an average 70% more energy. Meanwhile, for those designs which can tolerate a higher power budget, PARROT gracefully scales up to use additional execution resources in a uniformly efficient manner. In particular, a PARROT-style doubly-wide machine delivers an average 45% IPC improvement while actually improving the cubic-MIPS-per-WATT power awareness metric by over 50%.