Rhythm & Views

Various Artists

American Laundromat, the Mystic, Conn.-based record label best known for innovative tribute albums, has done it again. This go-around, the band of the hour is The Cure.

It's a good choice; besides being one of the most beloved alternative bands ever, The Cure are masters of perfectly crafted, catchy-as-hell pop songs (the Disintegration album being the debatable exception that proves the rule).

Far too often, bands covering iconic songs eschew creativity and veer in one of two predictable directions: "Let's slow it down and add a lounge-y feel!" or, "Let's speed it up and make it a power-pop number!" This album is true to form, but no track strays terribly far from the original, and in most cases, the results are pleasant enough to be enjoyed despite the lack of verve.

Standouts include Joy Zippers' exuberant "Just Like Heaven," which feels like you and your friends singing along in the car, except, you know, with better vocals. The Submarines' "Boys Don't Cry" and Elizabeth Harper and the Matinee's "Pictures of You" are haunting and heartfelt; having female voices take over for Robert Smith offers an interesting twist.

Less successful is Kitty Karlyle's "In Between Days"; the L.A. band manages to turn it into a soulless punk-pop number. Another miss is Tanya Donelly and Dylan in the Movies' bizarre rendering of "The Lovecats."

Overall, the compilation is fun, if a little lightweight; even if none of 16 tracks convert you, you'll be reminded of the power of the pop song, Cure-style.