Various Artists


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Lounge-A-Palooza combines several of the most irritating trends in '90s alternative rock in one convenient package. There's the kitschy cocktail revival, the smug humor of smirk-rock, and the pounding guitars of grunge. It's a collection that combines alt-rock covers by MOR pop bands -- like Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme singing Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" -- and alt-rock bands doing classic pop songs, like Combustible Edison on Esquivel's "Miniskirt." For anyone who balks at camp or hipster humor, such pairings make Lounge-A-Palooza nearly intolerable, but there are some good things among the smirks. PJ Harvey and Eric Drew Feldman's "Zaz Turned Blue," Edwyn Collins' "Witchcraft," Cassandra Wilson's "The Good Life," Poe's cover of her brother's "A Rose Is a Rose," Pizzicato Five's "The Girl From Ipanema," Ben Folds Five's cover of the Flaming Lips' "She Don't Use Jelly," and "Wichita Lineman" by Michelle Shocked, Freddy Fender, Sheila E., and the Texas Tornadoes balance the dreck by Fastball, Fun Lovin' Criminals, and Chris Ballew of the Presidents of the United States of America. So, it's a mixed bag, but those with patience may find some worthwhile items.

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