Paul Weller Studio 150

Regardless of his reputation as kingpin of the late ’70s Mod revival, or grandfather of contemporary Britpop, Paul Weller was, hands down, one of the best songwriters of his time. His time, however, seems to have passed, as evidenced by a recent run of less-than-thrilling solo albums and now this mediocre collection of covers. Like so many other such recording projects undertaken by lesser talents, this exercise in studio filler merely creates a desire within the listener to hear the original versions. Sure, it’s interesting to see what songs Weller chose to take into Amsterdam’s Studio 150, but from a fan’s perspective, it would probably be just as intriguing (and certainly more telling) to rummage through the artist’s dustbin. The stinkiest morsels here include a plodding, banal version of Oasis’ "One Way Road” (in fairness, a throwaway B-side to begin with), and a why-bother cover of "All Along the Watchtower,” which Weller somehow makes sound more like Blue Oyster Cult’s "(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” than anything Dylan ever had in mind. Relative standouts include a fittingly sober take on Gordon Lightfoot’s "Early Morning Rain” and an organ-laden, gospel rendition of Neil Young’s "Birds,” which closes out the 12-song programme on an unusually sincere sounding note, particularly on the song’s repeated lyrical refrain, "It’s over.” (V2)