For his first set of original material in 10 years, Manilow concocts a concept album about fame (apparently influenced by Britney Spears). While the overall schmaltz factor might work in his Vegas show, only a few tunes cut it here. 
Outlaws Like Me
“I can’t hide my redneck side,” sings Moore at the beginning of his latest. Then the country boy proceeds to do Jeff Foxworthy proud throughout Outlaws (featuring the hit “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away”). 
From Mumford & Sons to Fleet Foxes, it’s been a very good year for alt-folk. Add Bon Iver—featured on Kanye West‘s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy—to the list. The second album from Justin Vernon’s outfit is an atmospheric dreamscape. 
FOSTER THE PEOPLE
There are echoes of Beck, Scissor Sisters and MGMT in the psychedelic-tinged dance-rock of this buzz band, which has scored a hit with “Pumped Up Kicks.” But despite its charms, Torches won’t exactly burn into your soul.