Three Albums Apart: A Lloyd Cole Sampler contains tracks from Lloyd Cole's 2003 release Music in a Foreign Language and his two 2001 releases, Etc and Plastic Wood. The four songs taken from Music in a Foreign Language are intimate, literate and heartfelt. It is perhaps Cole's best album since the breakup of the Commotions, and the songs here will make you want the whole album. The four songs from Etc are also very nice too. The sessions the songs are drawn from are also very laid-back and mostly acoustic, providing Cole with a perfect backdrop for some of his strongest tunes in ages. "Old Enough to Know Better" and the chiming "Memphis" are two highlights. The tracks from Plastic Wood are something else entirely, as the album is Cole's foray into electronica. The songs are spare and very melancholy and not very interesting. He should stick with the day job, especially when the results are as good as they are on Music in a Foreign Language and Etc.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra