Cat Power --
Jukebox (Matador) Cat Power has applied her indie-folk aesthetic to another collection of well-chosen covers for this album. There aren't a lot of surprises in her choices or her delivery -- even the seemingly offbeat decision to tackle the Frank Sinatra signature "New York, New York" as a Fiona Apple ballad doesn't feel unusual. But with a voice as gorgeous as hers and when arrangements that are as moving as hers take on Bob Dylan's "I Believe in You" or Billie Holiday's "Don't Explain," there's nothing wrong with giving people exactly what they're expecting.
Natasha Bedingfield --Pocketful of Sunshine (Epic) When Natasha Bedingfield appeared on the scene in 2005, she set herself apart from the pop-singer crowd with her songwriting quirks and a desire to play up her naivete. Those differences turned her debut album Unwritten into a surprise hit and the title track into the soundtrack for TV dramedy triumphs. The quirks are gone on Bedingfield's new album, though. They are replaced by a more confident delivery, but a more predictable feel that points out more of her shortcomings. And at this stage of the music industry's decline, why would anyone think that the masses would buy an entire album that's packed with filler? Most Bedingfield fans will likely download the sweet, irresistible single "Love Like This," which takes the simplicity of "Unwritten" and adds an island tinge, thanks to Sean Kingston. The rest of the CD barely registers, full of pale copies of other successful pop that don't necessarily work for Bedingfield.