Tribute albums can be a mixed bag, but this new release is filled with more hits than misses. What can you expect when you pair such top-notch material—drawn pretty much from throughout the band's career—with creative interpreters such as Marianne Faithfull, Antony Hegarty, Lykke Li, Craig Wedren and St. Vincent?
This has many familiar names, and some less so, allowing for the occasional discovery. Probably the big find is blues-belter Trixie Whitley, the 25-year-old daughter of the late Chris Whitley and a member of Daniel Lanois' Black Dub. She contributes an amazing slow-burn interpretation of "Before the Beginning."
Another surprise is the appearance of ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons on a turbo-charged version of the blues stomper "Oh Well," a Peter Green composition with which Fleetwood Mac had a major hit in 1969. Lee Ranaldo and J Mascis bring a noisy avant-garde flavor to the psychedelic British folk of "Albatross."
Many listeners will be drawn to covers of classics from the Buckingham-Nicks era of the band. Most notably, Gardens and Villa take on "Gyspy," while The Kills tackle "Dreams." The most-daring revision is a cheerful, summery "Rhiannon" by Best Coast. Karen Elson, however, doesn't bring much new to "Gold Dust Woman."
The New Pornographers take their signature brand of pop-rock smarts to "Think About Me," and their robust multi-part vocal harmonies do the song justice. Speaking of great voices, Hegarty lends his to a melancholy "Landslide," which is sexy and demure at the same time.