Stephin Merritt Eban & Charley

Perhaps still recovering from the creative purge that was 1999's 69 Love Songs, Stephin Merritt has - for the first time in a career filled with albums by Magnetic Fields, the 6ths and many more - released an album under his own name. A soundtrack to a NYC indie film, it allows Merritt to record more experimental pieces outside his usual pop purview. Only six of the 16 tracks utilise his regular songwriting style, of which "This Little Ukulele" stands out. The others showcase Merritt's innovative production and arrangements, which are often overlooked for discussion of his witty lyrics. At 36 minutes, and with most tracks barely two minutes long, this release is for fans of Merritt the musician, not the songwriter. (Merge)