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Much of the music for Richard Linklater’s fourth film seems to have been chosen more for how cool the artist listing on the CD’s back cover looks than for its quality. Elastica, aided by guest Stephen Malkmus, does a good job of screwing with the groove of X’s “Unheard Music,” but the song’s self-pitying tone (“We’re locked out of the public eye”) hasn’t aged well and sounds truly absurd coming from a band leading off the soundtrack album of a major studio release, and which recently had a track featured in a beer commercial. Worse—worse than almost anything on a current alt-rock record, which is going some—is Boss Hog’s hideous mutilation (that’s not a compliment) of the Kinks’ “I’m Not Like Everybody Else.” A useless, glum Skinny Puppy tune and a token piece of electronic dance music by U.N.K.L.E. jar alongside the rest of the guitar-driven choices, although Gene Pitney’s “Town Without Pity” doesn’t make a bad fit with the likes of an OK Superchunk number (“Does Your Hometown Care?,” which isn’t as incisive as many of the group’s recent compositions) and Beck’s plainspoken acoustic “Feather in Your Cap.” Along with Thurston Moore’s “Psychic Hearts,” there are several charming if inessential new Sonic Youth offerings. These days, though, you take your charm where you can get it, even if screenwriter Eric Bogosian’s name is attached.

—Rickey Wright