Various Better Than The Average Weekend: A Tribute To Shadowy Men On A S

It's truly touching that bands from across North America (Saskatoon, Dayton, L.A., Montreal, Connecticut, New Jersey, Dartmouth) decided to pay tribute to one of Canada's greatest bands. However, in the case of this tribute album, it's the thought that counts, not the music. Of these 22 tracks, most are way too faithful, serving only as a reminder of the three Shadowy Men's stellar musicianship. When artists stray from textbook readings, the results are usually disastrous, like the all-bass rendition of "Jackpot" or the unfathomable keyboard-string sounds added to "Reid's Situation." There are exceptions, like when Houston's the Neptones take a slightly ska visit to "Egypt, Texas," or when Squid Vicious play the melody of "Spy School Graduation Theme" on a sine-wave keyboard, with a theremin dancing in the background. Predictably, the Sadies are a highlight with a countrified musing on "Algoma Reflections." If you don't own all three Shadowy albums, make sure you complete your collection before seeking this. (Deep Eddy)