As expected but perhaps not hoped for, Virgin dishes fans this best of, Collected, as Massive Attack are buying time to complete Weather Underground, their next album to be released -- hopefully -- within the calendar year 2006. All collections of this type give punters the chance to look back at what was once futuristic and is now commonplace and how well an act's music has aged. The remainder of the Wild Bunch -- Andrew "Mushroom" Vowles and Grant Grant "Daddy G" Marshall, and Robert "3D" del Naja -- who formed Massive Attack as evidenced by these 13 tracks, all have their place. The cuts are nearly equally divided between the albums Blue Lines, Protection, Mezzanine and 100th Window. None of the soundtrack works appears here, and neither do any 12" mixes. Hits like "Safer from Harm" and "Karmacoma" don't age so well, but others, such as "Inertia Creeps," the sublime "Teardrops," the sinister "Butterfly Caught," the spooky, mercurial love song "What Your Soul Sings," (with Sinéad O'Connor on vocals), and even "Unfinished Sympathy," (with Shara Nelson singing her ass off), do. There is a an unreleased track, a new blues called "Live with Me" that begins with a string intro, a deadly slow rhythm track offered as mid-tempo creep, and the deep soul voice of Terry Callier hovering inside the darkness. He moves from the blues to soul and back again as M.A weave that sorrowful, noir-ish, sonic magic all around him, draping him in atmospheric shadows and snaky beats. Nope, it isn't so new, but music this fine doesn't need to be. This isn't music for kids, or perhaps even for clubs, but it may be for the masses if the masses were given the chance to climb on. This is a fine introduction if you've been sleeping these past 15 years, or have recently come to realize that indie rock is but one color on the spectrum. Massive Attack at their best -- and much of it is here -- were a force to be reckoned with, and "Live with Me," is a hint that they still may be.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek