Dark Was The Night (Red Hot Compilation)
by Various Artists
Released: Feb 2009
Here's how you can tell that the dense, graceful Dark Was The Night is a genius compilation: The third-to-last song is a duet between Conor Oberst and Gillian Welch. Exactly. There's no padding here, and rarely a dull track. (Decemberists, consider yourselves warned.) The belly of this beast rocks -- thanks to the New Pornographers and Sufjan Stevens, in part -- but its two gangly arms embrace the cream of the indie crop and the American folk tradition together, and that seemingly awkward bear-hug leads to some of the most imaginative and stirring covers -- and originals -- we've heard.