1 He doesn't seem to want you to know this, but Paul Westerberg just put out his best record since the early '00s. It's titled "Wild Stab," and it's disguised under the band name of the I Don't Cares, with collaborator Juliana Hatfield. The Boston alt-rocker steps up as the Replacements frontman's vocal partner on a few playful ditties, but she seems mostly to serve the great purpose of bringing these basement recordings to light and polishing them up a little. They include a few almost "Stink!"-like bruisers such as "Wear Me Out Loud" and "Done Done Done," plus some lovely slower fare, including the seven-minute closer, "Hands Together" — all of which could become live staples. You know, should Westerberg decide to perform again anytime over the next decade.
2 There's no shortage of material on the King of Pop's sad decline, which is one of many reasons why Showtime's new Spike Lee-directed special, "Michael Jackson's Journey From Motown to Off the Wall," is such a treat. The 90-minute documentary homes in on the most fun era of Jackson's life, when he cut loose from his family, mixed it up at Studio 54 and turned heads in "The Wiz" before making 1979's seminal post-disco album "Off the Wall." Ultra-fans such as Questlove and the Weeknd make a strong case for it being better than "Thriller." There's no one better at chronicling Jackson on film than Lee. (9 p.m. Tue.; sho.com)
3 In Travis Mulhauser's novel "Sweet Girl," a teenage girl slogs through a knee-deep blizzard with a baby, pursued by meth addicts. Percy's one ally is Portis Dale, who once dated her mother. Their banter melds false bravado with pained affection. The novel traverses a wobbling slack line across a moral crevasse that few of us will experience. Yet there's a devastating credibility to the events Mulhauser creates.
5 In her must-see solo show at the Guthrie, "The Amish Project," writer/actor Jessica Dickey tackles metaphysical subjects with power and empathy as characters cope after a mass shooting in an insular religious community. Dickey investigates the story through seven fictional characters, the youngest and most endearing being 6-year-old Velda. When we see what happens through her eyes, there's nothing but heartbreak. But Dickey also shows a community pointing a way out of cycles of hurt and violence. (Final performances 1 & 7 p.m. Sunday; guthrietheater.org)
4 Michael Moore still finds a lot to laugh at in our national body politic. His new documentary, "Where to Invade Next," is more lighthearted and humorous than much of his recent work. It follows Moore on a tour across Europe and Africa, where he aims to rip off domestic policy ideas better than our own. The in-joke is that most of the breakthrough strategies he finds are long-ignored U.S. ideas. Moore's not advocating a utopian fantasy world, merely optimistic ways to repair and improve the one we're living in right now.