Various Artists

Little Darla Has a Treat for You, Vol. 21: Winter 2004

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The Little Darla Has a Treat for You series turns 21 with this volume, but instead of knocking back a corresponding number of Jager shots to celebrate the big event, the disc simply follows the course established by its antecedents, compiling 17 live cuts, album tracks, and exclusive recordings spanning the breadth of the indie pop spectrum circa late 2004. Probably the biggest name here is Scottish pop icon Paul Haig, whose rockabilly-inspired "Ghost Rider" deftly captures the charm of his vintage efforts. Indie mainstays Boyracer contribute the typically frenetic and engaging "Where to Place Your Trust," and San Francisco sophisticates the Music Lovers chime in with the gorgeous live entry "Matinee Girl." But far too much of the disc is consumed by pallid glitch-pop that seems to fade from memory the minute the collection runs its course. If you're looking for a time capsule documenting what was truly exciting about pop music at the end of 2004, Little Darla Has a Treat for You, Vol. 21 isn't it.