Various Artists

Trademark of Quality [1994]

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The third and apparently final disc in Warner/Reprise's Trademark of Quality promotional series hints broadly at the project's imminent demise. Packaged not in a jewel box but in a flimsy cardboard sleeve and sporting mock-contrite cover notes acknowledging the insufferably cocky tone of previous volumes, the collection also fails to match the consistency of its predecessors -- its lack of compelling content all too symptomatic of the last gasps of the corporate alt-rock era. TOQ mainstays the Flaming Lips, American Music Club, and Mudhoney are all back with negligible contributions, and among the truly significant artists selected for inclusion, only the Red House Painters' "Summer Dress," from the then-forthcoming Ocean Beach LP, merits consideration alongside anyone's finest work. Demos from the likes of Wilco, Lush, and Babes in Toyland will no doubt appeal to their respective fan bases, but more casual followers are advised to stick to official releases instead.