Various Artists

L' Age d'Or

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Some say that the L'Age d'Or label is Germany's answer to Matador and Subpop. Actually, if this generous sampler is anything to go on, L'Age d'Or is far more interesting that either of those American labels. Here's the couplet that opens Stella's "OK, Tomorrow I'll Be Perfect" (presented here in its "U.S. High School Mix"): "This is worse than pregnancy/I had imagined it differently." Revoxrevue offers a hilarious adaptation of the Jam's "That's Entertainment," while Fink turns in an even funnier faux-country remake of Kraftwerk's classic "Autobahn." There's some fun pop-punk courtesy of Tocotronic (who also contribute a melancholy tune called, strangely enough, "Let There Be Rock") and, from a band called Guz, some kind of weird Teutonic Jimi Hendrix tribute. Are there clunkers? You bet. "Grubby," by Jonas, is sludgy and boring, and Stella, who had gotten our hopes up with "OK, Tomorrow I'll Be Perfect," shows that the band really should avoid English lyrics after all on "The Jogging Man" ("The afternoon is close at hand/You'd better watch out for the jogging man"). Overall, though, this is a very worthwhile overview of the German scene, circa 2000.