Various Stubbs the Zombie: The Soundtrack

Some marketing executive really earned their gold star with this novel idea. Let’s get a mix of hip and obscure bands and let them go nuts over classic ’50s songs! While there’s really only one misstep here, the rest shines brightly, making this much more than just a novelty record. Really, you can separate the songs here into too faithful and just faithful enough. Death Cab for Cutie’s "Earth Angel” lets Ben Gibbard’s voice shine beautifully, but lacks a spark. Oppositely, Cake’s cheap Casio and hollow guitar take on "Strangers in the Night” is just perfect, making one think of the moment when the two awkward losers of the school finally realise they’re made for each other. The Walkmen’s echoed production is right out of an oldies mix and should be eminently downloadable, while the Flaming Lips’ "If I Only Had a Brain” is, as always, oddly perfect. The best of the best? Alt-country band Milton Mapes’ version of Rick Nelson’s "Lonesome Town,” which is so good, one should forget about the original. Despite the novelty context, this soundtrack is well worth the time. Why, it’s swell enough that you won’t care old Stubbs is eating Betty Sue’s brain on Makeout Hill! (Shout! Factory)