THE NEW REISSUES OVERALL:
SOUND: The mastering job makes a noticeable difference. The mix remains true to the originals, but there's more definition around the edges of each part - resulting in more powerful dynamics and an overall clearer sound. They refrained from maxing out the volume, which also helps with the dynamics.
MUSICAL CONTENT: They did it exactly right. Every non-album studio-recorded a-side and b-side has been slotted onto the ends of the appropriate albums. Previously, you had to buy the four albums, the non-album collection "Scree," and an additional disc to get the original a-side version of "Shot By Both Sides." (There was a great live 3-song b-side on an e.p., which is now only available on "Scree." Some alternate 2002 mixes of "Magic Murder and the Weather" songs are only available on the boxed set, "Maybe It's Right to be Nervous Now." The third disc of that box - the complete Peel Sessions - was released as a stand-alone cd in November, 2008.)
PACKAGING UPSIDE: Magazine had great album covers, but the Virgin cds all printed a diagonal banner across them indicating that they were budget cds. So that has been rectified. Also, the new cds come in clear jewel boxes and have nice artwork adaptations beneath the cds (which also have album-specific graphics on them). Typography on the spines is also specific to the albums and their visual aesthetic.
PACKAGING DOWNSIDE: The Virgin cds did a good job of adapting the back covers of the albums for the jewel box, and only the new "Correct Use of Soap" really tries to do that (poorly). The printing job is okay but not great. The typography on "Soap" and "Magic" is a little wonky, and the background color on "Soap" far more yellow than the original artwork/album. The Virgin cds also included the complete lyrics. The new cds do not have any lyrics. There's no additional graphic content either - photography, single covers, or anything else. Aside from the credits, all you get are mediocre essays that don't tell you much if you're already a Magazine fan.