Lambchop, "Trip" (Merge)

Lambchop's Kurt Wagner invited his ever-morphing ensemble to record some covers in Nashville and the resulting album, "Trip," surely defined the frontman's creed and genre-blending approach to music.

Trying their hand at Wilco's "Reservations" returns stellar results. It's dark and brooding, full of pregnant pause piano and interlaced with soft accoutrements of percussion to deliver a gem well worth the 13 minutes it takes to hear it all.

The band's take on Mirrors' "Shirley" is no less impressive. Beginning with the appropriate proto-punk pace, Lambchop's version nicely gives way to a dramatic down-shifted finish for the song about love just out of reach.

There's a good reason why Wagner and his iterations of Lambchop have stood the test of years, while remaining below the radar for some. Wagner's artistic visions aren't for everyone, but they're well constructed enough to demand respect. Lambchop, again, gives it all.


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