A programmable CD player is essential for wading through this three-disc retrospective (1965-72), which pads mil the group's essential work with live recordings and previously unreleased material. There are some pleasant surprises here, especially from the band's early years, but the sound quality is disappointingly primitive, and more than a few of these selections could only interest someone doing a graduate thesis on Haight-Ashbury. Though considered generational spokesmen, the Airplane, whose entire oeuvre included only two Top-10 singles, were wildly uneven. Their best work is lifted up by distinctive, idiosyncratic songwriting, by Grace Slick's seductive, otherworldly presence and by a swirling fusion of garage-rock, blues, jazz and Eastern music. As this box shows, however, much of their output suffers from long-windedness and self-indulgent experimentation. (RCA)"