Flaming Lips/Various LateNightTales

As the LateNightTales series begins to attract bigger names and branch out of the typical dance music deejay set, it’s getting harder to deny that just about anybody can get behind some decks and throw some songs together. Of course, at the same time, when you have such a beloved band like the Flaming Lips compiling a soundtrack for bed time, who’s going to argue? After recent nocturnal comps featuring Jamiroquai, Turin Brakes and most recently, Four Tet, the Lips have easily gathered the biggest profiled names so far (Björk, Brian Eno, Nick Drake, Aphex Twin, Roxy Music) for their mix in the series. As one of the most imaginative and innovative bands on the planet, it’s really difficult to predict what Wayne Coyne, Steven Drozd and Michael Ivins would pick, and the results are actually more conventional than you’d think (with reasons given in the liner notes). However, the song selections are diverse in style, well chosen, and most of all, flow nicely in and out of the mix (most notably between the Chemical Brothers and Love & Rockets, which almost link like they’re kin). While 18 of the 19 songs included are all previously released, it’s their own song — a splendidly twisted cover of the White Stripes’ "Seven Nation Army” — that remains to be the only exclusive. Lips fanatics can rejoice in the long overdue release of this cover and their heroes’ idea of a late night tale, while anyone else out there can simply enjoy a well-crafted compilation of some great songs. (Azuli)