Various Heroes & Villains: Music Inspired by the Powerpuff Girls

Domestically available for the first time through Rhino, last year's Powerpuff Girls compilation released by the Cartoon Network is a fantastic thematic collection, which brings together new recordings from some of indie pop's best. Powerpuff audio clips are interspersed between tracks, following a vague plot line. It turns out Powerpuff creator Craig McCracken has great taste in music, choosing bands that he claims inspire his cartoon creations. Working with Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh and Bob Casale, as producers, was the first move in the right direction. In fact, the album features one of the best Devo tracks released in ages, "Go Monkey Go." Other highlights include Frank Black in top form on "Pray For The Girls," a '20s-styled dance tune from Optiganally Yours featuring Rob Crow and Optigan maestro Pea Hix, the Olivia Tremor Control's Bill Doss with some glam pop on "Friends Win," and a tension builder from Bis called "Fight The Power." The absolute best numbers come from Apples In Stereo, with their power pop perfection "Signal In the Sky," Cornelius's funky Powerpuff sample-fest "The Fight" and the mechanical dance of Komeda's "B.L.O.S.S.O.M." Also along for the adventure are Shonen Knife, the Sugarplastic and Dressy Bessy. (Rhino)