3/5

An album of covers?  As Amstell would say, "it stinks of Ronson", but Cat Power’s new album is definitely a less indulgent piece.  With one original exception, Power has covered an eclectic group of songs, including a re-interpretation of one of her own songs, ranging from Sinatra to Joni Mitchell, and put her own spin on it.  The result is an enjoyable, eminently listenable album.Whilst there may have been a danger that the songs would be too voice-oriented, given both her previous work, and what must have been a great temptation to move the songs as far into her own territory as possible, there is no gratuitous over-singing, a la Regina Spektor.  If anything, the instrumentation is the star of many of the songs, with the percussion element of the album particularly strong; if anything, it almost distracts from her voice.  More than once did it feel like Power’s voice was merely a supporting act to slick, well thought-out instrumentation.It would be hard to imagine any of the songs setting the world alight as single releases, but there are definite highlights.  The strong opening track, the cover of “New York” immediately grabbed my attention (although again, as much because of the compelling sound of the instruments as her voice), whilst the cover of Silver Stallion was an unexpected unplugged treat, amidst the electro-acoustic sound of the rest of the album.  The album feels a little front-loaded, though; the last 15 minutes of the barely 40 minute album melts together a bit.I can’t help feeling that she didn’t have that much fun making it, (and if anyone had fun, it was definitely the drummer).  The album is good, especially as unintrusive background music, but there is no obvious sign that she let her imagination go. However, it would frankly be a lie to say this isn’t worth listening to, because it really is, if you’re even remotely a fan of Power or acoustic music.by Fayyaz Muneer