Fountains of Wayne, 'Out of State Plates' (Virgin)

Out of State Plates
Critical Mass
Label: Virgin

by Keith Harris

Glib little show-offs that they are, power-pop whizzes Adam Schlesinger and Chris Collingwood surround the expected covers (a moody version of Britney's "...Baby One More Time") and novelties (the self-explanatory "I Want an Alien for Christmas") on their rare-and-unreleased two-disc compilation with smart original leftovers, many of which meet melodic expectations with thrilling regularity. Ladies who love endearingly jerky nerds will fall so hard for the jangly "Baby I've Changed" -- which promises not just "I'll never throw your mail away," but also "I'll let you listen to Sugar Ray" -- that they'll probably forgive the needy acoustic plaint "I Want You Around," which suggests, "My little darlin' / Don't you cry / It makes you look older."



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