E-40, My Ghetto Report Card (Reprise/ BME). Lil Jon is the executive producer here, but he doesn't drown this Bay Area veteran in Crunk Juice. Although Ghetto has its dirty-South moments, E-40's amusingly twisted personality shines through on the likes of "Tell Me When to Go," in which he notes that "Jesus Christ had dreads, so shake 'em." Get down, Savior. -- Roberts
Mates of State, Bring It Back (Barsuk). The feisty marital pair that make up Mates of State have amassed a hefty collection of organ-driven, energy-spiked songs built from the heart-sleeved ensnaring harmony of their vocals. Punchy and surprisingly elaborate given its instrumental scarcity, Bring It Back throws in an extra helping of joy within the feedback and drum crash, like Sonic Youth trying out for the Polyphonic Spree. -- Terry Sawyer
Terje Rypdal, Vossabrygg (ECM). Guitarist Terje Rypdal acknowledges that Vossabrygg, a pristine live recording from 2003, was modeled on Miles Davis's Bitches Brew, but the results don't sound like a mere retread. Employing instrumentation that recalls Davis in his fusionoid prime, Rypdal and crew simultaneously celebrate and update a style that still sounds fresh more than three decades later. -- Roberts
Scissorfight, Jaggernaut (Tortuga). What a style to resurrect: the clanging, deconstructed rock of '90s Amrep bands like the Cows and Tar. Scissorfight's sophomore full-length cuts right to the bone with sharp riffs and guttural, half-sung rants. Unfortunately, it's also as stale, overly processed and ultimately dull as the worst work of its forebears. -- Heller
Voxtrot, Mother, Sisters, Daughters & Wives EP (Cult Hero). With its second EP, Austin's Voxtrot is ready to take up the mope-pop reins from Belle and Sebastian. But is it as good as all the hype purports? Actually, it's better. Morrissey, watch out: Voxtrot leader Ramesh Srivastava has spent some long years of his life on your trail. -- Heller
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Joy Lynn White, One More Time (Thortch Recordings). It's mind-boggling that such an obvious talent in roots rock remains hidden. White's country-tinged blues takes the edge off of Bonnie Raitt and polishes it with gentle vibrato to a Tammy Wynette sheen. Like Maria McKee, White has the breath control of a pearl-diving trumpet player. More important, she spins tales like Jerry Jeff Walker. -- Rick Skidmore