Picks and Pans Review: Quick Cuts

updated 07/06/2009 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/06/2009 01:00AM

>THE MARS VOLTA Octahedron This alt-rock duo may be too far out in the cosmos for some, but adventurous explorers will enjoy this trippy journey. It takes off with "Since We've Been Wrong," a ballad for the heavens.

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AL B. SURE! Honey I'm Home The new jack swinger opens his first studio disc in 17 years with a bit of his 1988 hit "Nite and Day." He goes on to make an assured return with lush, sensual slow jams like "I Love It (Papi Aye Aye Aye)" and Sting's "Fragile."

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TANYA TUCKER My Turn Tucker was the Taylor Swift of her day, scoring her first hit when she was just 13. Now 50, she flips the script on country classics recorded by men, like "You Don't Know Me." Appealing? Yes. Amazing? No.

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THE CLIKS Dirty King Featuring a transgender (female-to-male) lead singer, this Toronto rock trio shows that they can be hard (the surf-guitar-riffed title track) as well as softer (the melancholy "Not Your Boy"). Although it never fully clicks, their second disc has its moments.

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