As befits a software engineer from Yale, much of Jonathan Coulton's career thus far has been an experiment. The biggest was to build an audience in cyberspace, via a podcast he called "Thing a Week." The concept was to record a song about a different "thing" (say, bacteria) every seven days for a year, and make the music available through Creative Commons Licensing to a public who were free to use it however they saw fit. Once the project kicked off, in September 2005, some of his 52 songs wound up on YouTube, juxtaposed with video-game visuals; eventually one of Coulton's tunes, "Still Alive," wound up in Portal, an actual game. Another, "Code Monkey," later became the title theme to an animated cable series. But even before Thing a Week, he was putting out music -- notably, a digital EP released with the September 2005 issue of Popular Science magazine, which named him a "contributing troubadour." If all this sounds really geeky, you're getting the point; Coulton's music is quirky indie singer-songwriter stuff, in the tradition of his sometimes-tourmates They Might Be Giants. So-called "nerdcore" rappers, such as MC Lars and MC Frontalot, make for natural collaboration partners.