Various Not Given Lightly: A Tribute to the Giant Golden Book of New Zealand's Alternative Music Scene

You have to give it to the folks of Morr; they sure know how to make great tribute albums. The German label's 2002 homage to Slowdive, Blue Skied an' Clear, stands as one of the finer tribute ventures out there, and you could say the same of Not Given Lightly, a double-disc salute to New Zealand's ever-influential '80s indie pop scene. Rather than take a dull, by-the-numbers covers approach, this collection aims more to capture "the spirit" of the subject, which in this case is the jangled-up, DIY pop of Flying Nun stalwarts such as the Chills, the Bats, the Clean and of course, Chris "Tall Dwarfs" Knox. What this turns into is one disc of loose indie/electronica covers by Morr artists like Lali Puna, B. Fleischmann, Isan and American Analog Set, and another of previously unreleased, "inspired by" originals. Sure, there are a few duds among the 33 tracks but as a whole Not Given Lightly is a must-hear for anyone who's ever been swept up by New Zealand's heavenly pop hits. (Morr)