Thievery Corporation/Various Versions

It has been almost 10 years since Thievery Corporation first released their smoky dub/reggae-meets-lounge classic Sounds from the Thievery Hi-Fi. Although they have divulged into seemingly every sub-genre in world music, and become a household name for heads of their brand of electronica, their latest remix album, Versions, is supposed to be a step back to their roots and a nod to the Jamaican production tradition of creating "versions” of original compositions. Those expecting dubbed-out re-workings of an eclectic play list ranging from Sarah McLachlan and Norah Jones to the trance-y, sitar-steeped Anoushka Shankar and French new wavers Nouvelle Vague, will be disappointed. Only a handful of songs, including the only original track on the album with legendary dancehall queen Sister Nancy, are infused with any type of dub/reggae beat, and the rest are done in the more increasingly generic style of "beat-lite,” which unfortunately is becoming the norm for artists of this type of music, and a real let-down from a band with the statute of Thievery Corporation. There are some highlights including a re-working of cult pop favourites the Januaries’ "The Girl’s Insane,” and Ben Folds’ side project Fear of Pop. But the only real dance floor filler on the album is a psychedelic, Manchester groove rendition of the Doors "Strange Days,” which makes you wonder how much of the album sales the band will actually be able to keep once Ray Manzarek hears this. (ESL)