I've been waiting for this collection to be released for a while now. The easiest way to review it is just to do a track by track breakdown of the good songs. I'll pass on the ones I didn't like and let someone else savage them!
1. "Ana Ng" by Self. On first listen this sounded somewhat close to the original, mainly because of the vocals. HOWEVER, this is now my favorite track and is far better than the original. It's done with tons of guitars and layering, and sounds like Self (duh) and a little like some of Brendan Benson's more rockin' stuff. Grade: A+
2. "Pet Name" by The Long Winters. I love the Long Winters, but this track is not as good or polished as their albums/eps. The vocals sound kinda sloppy and off. But it's also much better than the original TMBG track, which I always found annoying. This sounds like some drunken garage-rock REM or Replacements b-side (in a good way). Grade: B
3. "Narrow Your Eyes" by David Miller. Very cool 60's sound on this one--made me think of classic power pop stuff (Who, Raspbberries, mid-Kinks). I've never even heard the original but this is neat, thanks to great guitars and handclappy choruses. Grade: A
4. "She's An Angel" by Charles Douglas. This one's also a really great track that I like more than the original one. Sounds like the Pixies or Lou Reed, and has Pavement-y guitars galore. Nice strange keyboards at the end too. Fantastic, weird stuff that transforms the original catchy oddity into a great spiky rock song. Grade: A
5. "Road Movie to Berlin" by Frank Black. Strange to think the previous Charles Douglas track sounds more like the Pixies than this does, but there it is. Another strong cover that reinvents the original as a country-rock stroll. Not perfect, but I love Frank Black, so this gets Grade: A-
6. "They'll Need a Crane" by The Wrens. My second personal favorite track on here. A complete deconstruction of the song. It becomes an agonizing, bizarre lament that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stick up. The Wrens are such an incredible band. This, like most of their music, gets a Grade A+
7. "Dead" by Steve Burns. The guy from Blues Clues! This one doesn't blow me away, but it's nice enough. Sticks close to the original but with a little bit of a psychedelic/laptop element, if that makes any sense. Pleasant but not essential. Grade: B-
Pass on tracks 8,9,10--none of them hooked me.
11. "Dr. Worm" by Jason Trachtenburg. This is a love-it-or-hate-it song to begin with. I personally find this version endearing and fun to listen to. It sounds folky and playful. Yet obviously some people are going to hate its silly quality... Grade: B
tracks 12 & 13 are okay, but not great.
14. "End of the Tour" by Hotel Lights. This blows the original right out of the water--completely perfect in every way. Hotel Lights have taken a great song and made it completely their own. Sounds mellow, emotional, reminds me of Hotel Lights other stuff, also Kingsbury Manx, and 70's singer-songwriter stuff. Grade: A
Thus concludes my overview of this album--hope it's useful to some of y'all.