Fountains of Wayne

Out-of-State Plates (Virgin)

Summer wouldn't be summer without Fountains of Wayne. Sure, hot dogs would be just as carcinogenic, steering wheels would still sear flesh, and young lovers would still get VD, but the season wouldn't be as special without the fine details and lacerating hooks of those New Jersey troubadours. Famous for last year's infectious ode to MILF romance, "Stacy's Mom," Adam Schlesinger and Chris Collingwood have spent nearly a decade making road-trip-ready power pop. And despite packing three albums full of sarcasm, ironic kitsch, and the occasional heartbreaking ballad, they still fill this two-CD collection of unreleased singles with irresistible sing-alongs and not-so-quiet desperation. "California Sex Lawyer" and "Karpet King" are vintage FOW, vignettes of suburban dystopia told with tongue firmly in cheek. But the nicest surprises are the ones told with a straight face. Covers of Burt Bacharach's "Trains and Boats and Planes" and a surprisingly somber "...Baby One More Time" join tunes like "Nightlight" and "I Want You Around," sweet and comforting like a drippy-cold snow cone. So don't let summer get you down. Dip your feet in the deep end, practice safe sex, and for God's sake, kids, put away the new Weezer and pick up some Out-of-State Plates.

 
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