May 07, 2007 12:00 PM

>JOE Ain’t Nothin’ Like Me The title of Joe’s latest CD seems to attest to his singular abilities as a loveman. But on these slow jams and hip-hoppish midtempo numbers he doesn’t sound much different from fellow R&B Romeos like R. Kelly (“Go Hard”), Brian McKnight (“Feel for You”) and Usher (“Let’s Just Do It”). [STARS 2]

PATTI SMITH Twelve The recently inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Famer salutes such other all-timers as Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, Neil Young and Stevie Wonder on these 12 Pattified covers. The highlight? Her radical reworking of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” which she deconstructs into a folk-punker that Kurt Cobain would barely recognize. [STARS 3]

DENIECE WILLIAMS Love, Niecy Style Long before Mariah was hitting those glass-shattering notes, there was Niecy. And it’s good to hear the songbird back on this set of ’60s, ’70s and ’80s R&B covers. Her fluttery soprano soars on “This Time I’ll Be Sweeter.” But did we really need a remake of Kool & the Gang’s “Cherish”? [STARS 2.5]

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