Various Artists

M.O.M., Vol. 3: Music for Our Mother Ocean

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The third benefit album for the Surfrider Foundation, an organization dedicated to preserving oceans, is as weirdly scattershot as the two other MOM albums, and just as enjoyable. As with any tribute album, MOM, Vol. 3 is certainly a collection of moments, balanced somewhere between the good and the mediocre. To its credit, the Surfrider Foundation gets major artists to deliver exclusive songs to their record. Even better, they're lucky to get first-rate music from these artists, most notably with Beck's terrific, frazzled beach party song "Electric Music and the Summer People" and Pearl Jam's strangely ambitious "The Whale Song." These, along with Snoop Dogg & Rage Against the Machine's duet on "Snoop Bounce," are the most notable new recordings, but they aren't the only worthwhile moments, either. Brian Setzer and Brian Wilson knock out an enjoyable "Little Deuce Coupe," Everclear tackles "Walk Don't Run" as if they were the Pixies, Chris Isaak's "Winter Waves" is a cool breeze of Beach Boys pop, the Beasties' "Nothing to Say" is a fun punk throwaway, and several other cuts aren't bad, either. Of course, there are a few trying moments as well -- record companies should agree that alternative bands are banned from doing ironic covers of oldies (particularly, Sprung Monkey's "Coconut"), even if it is for a good cause -- but they're not enough to sink the collection. The best thing about MOM, Vol. 3 is that almost all of it is exclusive material. Not counting the Butthole Surfers' remix of Jane's Addiction's "Ocean Size," Paul McCartney and James Taylor are the only ones that dig into the vaults for their contributions, but this is one case when the good intentions outweigh the end result. It's impossible to imagine most listeners grooving on every track on the album, but it's still more enjoyable than most tribute or benefit albums.

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