Dropping Daylight, Brace Yourself (Octone). On a blurb affixed to the cover of Brace Yourself, members of Hawthorne Heights liken Dropping Daylight to a "punk-rock Ben Folds Five" -- a terrifying description if ever there was one. In truth, the band doesn't venture far from the pop-emo template, but Sebastian Davin's keyboard playing and arrangements lift it above more by-the-numbers combos. Like, for instance, Hawthorne Heights. -- Roberts
The Duke Spirit, Cuts Across the Land (Star Time/Vagrant). Holy flashback, Batman. Liela Moss and the men of the Duke Spirit (due at the Paramount Theatre on Tuesday, May 23) channel classic-period indie rock as though they invented it. Moss's husky vocals recall femme fatales like Hope Sandoval or Kim Gordon, while the music shifts from fuzzy to noisy, sloppy to rumbling angst. The spirit is there, but the originality? Well, that's another story. -- Glenn BurnSilver
Brad Goode, Hypnotic Suggestion (Delmark). CU professor Brad Goode returned to his home town of Chicago last year to cut this confident, enjoyable post-bop set. The disc, which features liner notes by American Splendor's Harvey Pekar, spotlights Goode's skills as an interpreter of Gillespie, Monk et al. But entrancing originals such as "Just a Thought" are what make the recording Hypnotic. -- Roberts
Allison Moorer, Getting Somewhere (Sugar Hill). Shelby Lynn's kid sister and the oh-so-hot wife of Steve Earle presents her sixth album: a profoundly forgettable collection of mid-tempo, pop-infused ballads that make soul-searching sound like a shopping spree at Victoria's Secret. Moorer's goody list includes recipes for girl power, New Year's resolutions and boring odes to her outlaw hubby. Yawnarooney. -- La Briola
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Osaka Popstar, Osaka Popstar and the American Legends of Punk (Rykodisc). Five old men of punk -- Black Flag's Dez Cadena, the Misfits' Jerry Only, Marky Ramone, Ivan Julian of Richard Hell and the Voidoids, and John Cafiero, who produced the Misfits and the Ramones -- romp gleefully through a cartoonish pop-punk wonderland. As punk as Splenda, but twice as sweet. -- Eryc Eyl
Various Artists, See You on the Moon (Paper Bag Records). Perfect for hipster parents and their musically inclined progeny, the folks at Toronto's Paper Bag Records have pulled together an eclectic collection of indie rock for Mom and Dad and their brood that includes exclusive contributions by luminaries such as Low's Alan Sparhawk, Sufjan Stevens, Broken Social Scene, Rosie Thomas, Mark Kozelek and many more. -- Eyl
Various Artists, WWE: Wreckless Intent (Columbia). Can any respectable, strutting SmackDown grappler bring the pain without a shitty entrance theme? Apparently not. Combining forces for a tag-team assault on pop culture, mediocre metal and grating hip-hop set the stage for Big Show and Rey Mysterio, as Motrhead, Three 6 Mafia and others embarrass themselves in the name of greasing turnbuckles. -- La Briola