Picks and Pans Review: Regina Spektor

UPDATED 07/06/2009 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 07/06/2009 at 01:00 AM EDT

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ALT-POP
After her 2006 breakthrough, Begin to Hope, Regina Spektor recruited some top knob-twirlers for this follow-up, including Mike Elizondo (Eminem), Jeff Lynne (Tom Petty) and Jacknife Lee (R.E.M.). Don't worry about this singer-songwriter becoming a producer's puppet, though. She willfully maintains her sense of whimsy, her quirky charms extending from her lyrics to her vocals and classically trained piano work.

DOWNLOAD THIS: "Laughing With," a lilting, left-of-center slice of piano pop

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