Tribute albums are tricky things. Paying homage without either doing note-for-note covers or hijacking a song for one's own narcissistic purposes of stylistic tics can be quite the tightrope walk. New Fleetwood Mac tribute Just Tell Me That You Want Me (August 14, Hear/Concord) strives mightily to aspire to the second more dangerous minefield, lining up an interesting array of "cutting edge" indie bands and solo artists to create "radical" interpretations of songs that were -- and remain -- adventurous in their own right. Is Best Coast's relatively straight read of "Rhiannon" as smart and invigorating as the 40-year-old original? Does Lykke Li's reverb-ose of "Silver Springs" do anything more than make you long for Stevie Nicks' celestial take? Comparisons are, of course, meaningless. We're guessing that MGMT fans are more interested in the band's inventive version of "Future Games" (now there's a prescient title!) than the aging Mac-ian worshippers looking to scold the young'uns. And they should be. This isn't an exercise in winking, ironic pandering of an iconic band, it's a welcome poke in the eye and a cold splash reminder that pop music is static snapshot of a particular time in history, whether that's 1975 or 2005. The originals are often im-mac-ulate visions of pop genius for that time. These remakes are often bold interpretations that may try a little too hard -- but isn't that the point?
Best Coast - "Rhiannon" (from Just Tell Me That You Want Me)
The New Pornographers - "Think About Me" (from Just Tell Me That You Want Me)