Stars / Various Do You Trust Your Friends?

Obviously this title is more of a rhetorical question, as this re-do of Set Yourself on Fire with covers and remixes in place of the originals wouldn’t exist unless Stars had a modicum of trust in allowing their friends to manipulate their songs. Unless, of course, everyone ganged up on them and are forcing them to release this without permission, which could possibly be the case, as Stars seem a bit too wussy to put up any kind of fight. Luckily, Stars’ trademark soft pop either gets exaggerated or thrown away by this strong, if somewhat uninspired, collection. Final Fantasy’s remix of "Your Ex-Lover is Dead” is particularly beautiful and elegant, giving another elegiac spin on the already excellent original. The breadwinner and absolutely essential track here is the Junior Boys’ remix of "Sleep Tonight,” which could have fit comfortably on So This Is Goodbye. Amy Millan’s buttery voice juxtaposes wonderfully with the new blunt and chunky beats, making the meeting of these two soft pop mavericks a definite delight. The Dears’ remix is split into two songs, one slightly more remarkable than the other, while another surprise comes from Metric’s remix of "He Lied About Death.” With none of their lovely indie swagger, Metric force up the background ambience and lush electro fuzz and, amazingly, it’s subtle and quite sublime. More hits than misses, Stars’ trust is justified here. (Arts & Crafts)