The latest in a long line of stray track compilations that stretches all the way back to Bona Drag, if not Hatful of Hallow, 2009's Swords gathers up 18 highlights from the B-sides of singles from You Are the Quarry, Ringleader of the Tormentors, and Years of Refusal -- the three albums that constitute the great Moz comeback of the new millennium. Not all the flipsides are here, but all the noteworthy ones are, including a cameo from Chrissie Hynde on "Shame Is the Name," a cover of David Bowie's "Drive-In Saturday" with new lyrics all about the New York Dolls. These little pieces of flair dress up a pretty drab selection of songs that sound like leftovers, cut from the original albums not because they didn't fit the mood, but because they didn't quite work -- covering similar territory as the proper album, only just not as well. Nothing here is quite an embarrassment, but compared to his other albums of this nature, including the muddled World of Morrissey, there's a distinct lack of humor and hooks, or anything else memorable.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine