Seth MacFarlane, ‘Music Is Better Than Words’ (Universal Republic)
There’s a vast chasm between the racially tone-deaf scat jokes of Family Guy and sentimental lines like “You’re the cream in my coffee / You’re the salt in my stew,” yet here’s millionaire polymath Seth MacFarlane leaping right over it with a big band and Frank Sinatra’s original microphone, a.k.a. “the Frank.” The result is alternately audacious and befuddling, as MacFarlane uses his canny vibrato and crackerjack phrasing to imbue these Tin Pan Alley deep cuts (“The Sadder but Wiser Girl” from The Music Man) with scholarly aplomb. Devotees will search in vain for the necrophilia punch lines, while Sinatra fans will search in vain for a plausible explanation. Have fun rebooting The Flintstones, asshole.