Various Space Escapade Unit 1 Destination: Pluto Sector 68

At a time when the Internet is bursting at the seams with blogs and websites offering MP3s as a way to discover new music, it might appear that there's no longer a need for label sampler CDs. Yet Spanish label Elefant makes a pretty compelling case for their continued existence on Space Escapade Unit 1 Destination: Pluto Sector 68. This is a really good collection of indie pop in all its varieties. There are some big names, like Camera Obscura and Trembling Blue Stars, and plenty of lesser-known ones from all around the world. Get ready to enjoy the disco-tinged majesty of Spain's La Casa Azul, some great Japanese pop songs, obscure '60s gems from Nick Garrie and a modern take on space-age bachelor pad music from Modular among the 44 tracks spread over two CDs. The main problem with the collection is that most of it is available elsewhere ― only five songs are exclusives and of those, only the Helen Love track is top-notch. While it works as a snapshot of what Elefant has to offer or a way to discover new bands, current fans will find little reason to pick this up, apart from the wonderful artwork. (Elefant)