Editors’ Notes Sometimes a songwriter enjoys kicking back and not thinking about it. Here, Old 97’s leader Rhett Miller throws himself into a varied and surprising set of covers. Paul Simon’s “Homeward Bound,” Tom Petty’s “American Girl,” Elvis Costello’s “Brilliant Mistake,” and The Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset” are given rough, acoustic renditions that suddenly sound more like Old 97’s alt-country and folk tunes than what they once were. Jon Brion adds electronic enhancements and a rhythm section to Robyn Hitchcock’s “Cynthia Mask” while subtly accompanying Miller on David Bowie’s “The Bewlay Brothers” and “Queen Bitch” and The Beatles’ “I’ll Cry Instead.” Dylan’s “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” can be clearly understood as a honky-tonk number. The Pixies’ “Wave of Mutilation” (presented as a medley with The Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated”) features Pixies guitarist Joey Santiago. It’s proof that Miller has a good ear for the music of others.

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