Merritt broke through the Nashville establishment to get a Best Country Album Grammy nod for 2004's Tambourine. On this alt-country disc, she again makes a refreshing alternative to the usual suspects.
MGMT Oracular Spectacular
This duo suffers from a bit of musical ADD on their full-length debut, jumping from psychedelic pop-rock to blue-eyed soul and synth-driven new wave. But what they lack in focus they make up for in hooks.
MISSY HIGGINS On a Clear Night
Singer-songwriter Higgins is a major star in her native Australia, where her debut was the best-selling album of 2005. This solid but unspectacular follow-up is consistently catchy if not terribly original.
KENNY G Rhythm & Romance
He's not a rhythm machine yet, but on the classic "Besame Mucho" and 11 other tracks propelled by Brazilian, tango and salsa beats, the G-man, with his fluid soprano sax, delivers on romantic pleasures.