Can-annular combustors can feature azimuthal instabilities even if the acoustic coupling between the individual cans is weak. Recently, various studies have focused on modeling the acoustic communication between adjacent cans in can-annular systems. In this study, a coupling model is presented that, in contrast to previous models, includes the effect of density fluctuations, mean flow, and dissipative effects at the connection gaps. By assuming plane acoustic waves inside each can and exploiting the discrete rotational symmetry of the can-annular system, the acoustic can-to-can interaction can be represented by an effective Bloch-type impedance. A single can modeled with the effective impedance at the downstream end emulates the acoustic response of the entire can-annular arrangement. We then propose the idea of installing a liner just upstream of the first turbine stage to damp azimuthal instabilities. By using the proposed can-to-can coupling model, we discuss in detail the effect that the impedance of the liner has on the effective reflection coefficient for different Bloch wavenumbers. In the low-frequency limit, we derive an analytical condition for achieving maximum damping at a specific Bloch-number. We show that the damping of azimuthal modes depends on the porosity of the liner, mean flow parameters and the Bloch-structure of the mode. These results suggest the possibility of targeting the damping of modes of certain azimuthal order by geometric variations of the liner or of the connection gap. As an exemplary application of the theory, we setup a network model of a generic industrial 12-can combustor and investigate a cluster of acoustic and thermoacoustic eigenvalues for a varying liner porosity. The findings of this study provide a deeper understanding of the mechanisms that drive the can-to-can acoustic communication, and open the path for devising passive damping strategies aimed at stabilizing specific modes in can-annular combustors.