Various Artists

A Testimonial Dinner: The Songs of XTC

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Though most tribute albums aren't worth the cost of the packaging, A Testimonial Dinner deserves a listen simply because the artists involved appear to have been selected more for their love of XTC than for their MTV appeal. Spacehog's take on "Senses Working Overtime" captures the perky but warped pop sensibilities perfectly, while Sarah McLachlan's haunting acoustic version of "Dear God" is, even by Andy Patridge's admission, arguably better than the original. Ruben Blades' invigorating Latin spin on "The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul" is simply magical, and They Might Be Giants lend their quirky style to a cover of "25 O'Clock," a song originally recorded by XTC's side-project the Dukes of Stratosphear. To top it all off, even XTC shows up (disguised as Terry & the Lovemen) to contribute "The Good Things," a lilting, psychedelic track reminiscent of the Summer of Love's groovy, harmony-laden pop. With nary a dud to be found, A Testimonial Dinner is the rare tribute album that does its subjects proud.

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