Various Artists

Lilith Fair, Vol. 2

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The souvenir soundtrack from the first Lilith Fair tour was a weighty double-disc set that attempted to capture the epic scope of the traveling festival. The second Lilith Fair -- which roamed the U.S. in 1998 -- was a little more carefully constructed, as Sarah McLachlan and her colleagues knew their demographic and expertly fulfilled their audience's desire. Which meant that they had a better idea to assemble the souvenir live albums, as well. Instead of releasing one double-disc set, they simultaneously released two separate albums, Lilith Fair, Vol. 2 and Lilith Fair, Vol. 3. This enabled them to feature more songs (28, compared to the original's 25), as well as craft more distinctive albums. And Lilith Fair, Vol. 2 is a better listen than its predecessor -- it's sequenced better and contains a nice balance of offbeat selections from major artists and cuts from lesser-known performers. Not everything here works -- Tracy Bonham's "Meat Hook" stands out like a sore thumb between the Cowboy Junkies and Holly McNarland, for instance -- but the best moments (Sinead O'Connor, Shawn Colvin, Morcheeba, Bic Runga, Natalie Merchant's "In the Ghetto" and Sarah McLachlan & Emmylou Harris' "Angel") aren't merely nice nostalgia for Lilith-heads, they're good music as well.

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