January 31, 2005 12:00 PM

Keane, Hopes and Fears
The hypermelodic, piano-driven music on Keane’s debut shows that there is hope for Brit pop beyond Coldplay. Lead singer Tom Chaplin’s angelic choirboy voice can soar to Freddie Mercury-like heights.

Merle Haggard, Unforgettable
On this splendid album, country veteran Haggard wraps his rich, warm voice around such standards as “Stardust,” “Pennies from Heaven” and “You’re Nobody ’til Somebody Loves You.”

Martin Luther, Rebel Soul Music
This rebel soul man does his forebears (Jimi, Sly, Prince) proud with insightful, socially conscious lyrics and the kind of righteously retro funk-rock Lenny Kravitz wishes he could make.

The Futureheads, The Futureheads
With herky-jerky beats, fast guitars and wacky song titles (“Le Garage”), these neo new-wavers spark a get-up-and-dance delight that recalls XTC and Devo.

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