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Cat Power

Jukebox

Cat Power channels Joni Mitchell's Blue on Jukebox.
Cat Power channels Joni Mitchell's Blue on Jukebox.

It's easy to dismiss Jukebox, Cat Power's second covers CD, as Matador's lazy way of dealing with head kitty Chan Marshall's latest bout of writer's block, but any indie-rock hipster knows she always stuffs her live shows with other people's songs. Marshall already did the interpretive thing on 2000's Covers Record, and she can transform any tune into a soulful slab of delicate beauty. Her voice is that mesmerizing. Jukebox moves fluently between moody blues and smoky jazz, channeling Joni Mitchell's classic Blue the entire way. Aside from curious opener "New York, New York" (checking in with its one-millionth­ rendition), the album is quintessential Sunday-morning, coffee-sipping music. Highlights include the Highwaymen's "Silver Stallion" and Bob Dylan's "I Believe in You," which strips Marshall's foray into horn-speckled R&B on 2006's The Greatest to its folkiest core. Two original compositions, "Metal Heart" and "Song to Bobby," fit right into the set, but they're also a reminder that while Jukebox makes a solid addition to Cat Power's catalog, Marshall is at her best singing her own songs.

 
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