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Not easy to cover puppets

Published 12:55pm Friday, August 26, 2011

It’s not easy being green — or covering puppets.

Some big names came together on “Muppets: The Green Album” to pay homage to the puppet performers, but yield mixed results.

With a new Muppets film due out in November, Disney — which is behind the film and the album — is looking for buzz. It’s needed, as the Muppets have been quiet in recent years.

It’s no surprise nostalgia is s key focus on the album, as Disney targets adults who grew up loving the Muppets and are now parents.

Memorable Muppets songs are performed as odes to childhood. It kicks off with a lively version of “The Muppet Show Theme Song” by OK Go, and the album keeps pace with “The Rainbow Connection” by Weezer and Hayley Williams, and “Moving Right Along” by Alkaline Trio.

But after the initial nostalgia wears off, the songs are left feeling empty. Though the Fray’s “Mahna Mahna” is a good cover, the track is far more forgettable when it’s not serving as a soundtrack for video of the Muppets’ antics.

That proves to be a problem across the entire album. Nostalgia alone isn’t enough to carry the songs. They were written to be paired with videos. Alone, there’s just something missing.

Andrew Bird’s style was a good choice for “Bein’ Green” with his pleasant and melancholy rendition. But at other times, the rocker’s styles mash against the originals.

The album succeeds at paying homage to the Muppets, but doesn’t give much more.

New releases to watch for

“Bad as Me,” by Tom Waits

Newly-inducted Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Famer Tom Waits announced Tuesday he will release his 17th studio album Oct. 25.

“Bad as Me” will be the first studio album from Waits since “Real Gone” in 2004.

The experimental rocker responsible for “Rain Dogs” and “Swordfishtrombones” has come a long way since his start as a jazz-fueled club singer in the 1970s. He still has a few suprises up his sleeve.

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