Various New Coat of Paint: Songs of Tom Waits

Most tribute albums suck, so let's cut to the few redeeming qualities of this one, focused on pre-Swordfishtrombones-era Waits. Neko Case tackles "Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis" with gorgeous grace and empathy, showing that she could have a torchy jazz career if for some obtuse reason her many other talents don't pan out. Lydia Lunch delivers a version of "Heartattack and Vine" that's much too faithful, right down to the stuttering vocal, although Nels Cline's guitar work is searing. Chicago's the Blacks do a great gender-fucked version of "Goin' Out West" live, but here they do alright with "Poncho's Lament." Everyone else can go home. The old paint job looked fine. (Manifesto)