Better Than the Movie?

Wig In a Box (Off)
Various Artists

By Kory Wilcoxson

You may or may not be familiar with "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," the play-turned-movie about a botched sex-change operation and the fallout for Hedwig, the confused victim (which includes starting a punk band, the Angry Inch). But you need not know the show to enjoy this compilation of music from and inspired by both stage and screen versions.

The lineup speaks to the quality: They Might Be Giants play it straighter than usual on "The Long Grift," Rufus Wainwright sets a somber mood with "The Origin of Love," the Polyphonic Spree offer up the sublime title track. Other artists include The Bens (Folds, Kweller and Lee), Cyndi Lauper backed by the Minus Five and in one of the most inspired pairings, Yoko Ono and Yo La Tengo.

The music is all strong. Dueling granddaddies of alt rock, Bob Moulds and Frank Black, each contribute a track; Black's "Sugar Daddy" is especially fun. And it's always good to hear from the Breeders, even if their version of "Wicked Little Town" isn't their best work.

Some movie-inspired compilations are cheap attempts to milk a franchise for more money. "Wig in a Box," since it doesn't have much of a franchise to milk, instead provides an enjoyable, enlightening listen.