Picks and Pans Main: Music

updated 09/27/2010 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/27/2010 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Robert Plant

Band of Joy |

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There's nothing like winning six Grammys to make a man-even a rock god like Robert Plant-change his musical perspective. That's clearly what has happened to the Led Zep leader after 2007's Raising Sand, his Grammy-conquering collaboration with Alison Krauss. On Band of Joy-which takes its title from an early Plant group-he again shows a whole lotta love for American roots music. With Raising Sand player Buddy Miller serving as coproducer, these eclectic covers-including Low's "Silver Rider" and "Monkey," two haunting highlights featuring Patty Griffin-are more Grammy bait.


Mavis Staples

You Are Not Alone |

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You know something serious is up when Mavis Staples is playing Lollapalooza. The 71-year-old R&B-gospel great was joined by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy during her performance at the Chicago music festival last month, but the unlikely pair had already teamed up to make this inspired album of spirituals and soul-sanctified covers. With Tweedy keeping it real authentic behind the boards, Staples takes it to church on traditionals, two songs from dad Pops Staples and others by John Fogerty and Randy Newman. Tweedy also contributes two originals, including the title track, on which Staples provides the comfort of a higher power.


Hurley |

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Leave it to Weezer to name an album after the lovable Lost character played by Jorge Garcia. They're the kind of geeks who'd theorize incessantly about what was really going on in that hatch. But there's nothing on the band's latest-coming just 10 months after Raditude-that approaches the complexities of Lost. This is straight-ahead punk-pop-catchy, sometimes cheeky, but hardly challenging. Rather than ratcheting up their ambitions like, say, Green Day, Rivers Cuomo and crew are content channeling their inner adolescent on tracks like "Trainwrecks" and the nostalgic single "Memories." Still, Hurley would probably dig it.


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