We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

When X-Files producer Chris Carter worries in the liner notes of this disc that he’s “succumbed to the swinish flu of grubbing moneymakers” in making a record out of his show, he’s probably right. Despite press-kit claims that the tunes included evoke the “stylish and subversive” alternate reality of the show, there’s little that’s even slightly deviant about this collection. Instead, this ineffectual compilation hosts a hodgepodge of Warner bands united only by a presumed affection for the show and their record company’s desire to tap into the most fanatical fan base this side of the Dead. Torn between writing “What a Babe Is Mulder” and a mood piece evocative of the show’s “unsettling reality,” most bands stumble. The Meat Puppets write uninspiredly about UFOs in “Unexplained,” while the Foo Fighters struggle for spookiness but end up eerily mimicking Peter Gabriel. Filter seems to think that sounding like the Frogs (a Minneapolis-based duo who claim to be gay brothers) is scary enough to make the grade, and Soul Coughing does its They Might Be Giants imitation for “Unmarked Helicopters.” Somehow, this isn’t an alternate reality I’d readily submit to. The first-ever collaboration between Elvis Costello and Brian Eno, however, delivers exactly what I’d hoped: a creepy, ambient tune overlaid with lyrics more “sly” or “seductive” than anything else on the album. And for sheer freakiness, the William S. Burroughs-meets-R.E.M. track can’t fail to satisfy: Burroughs, almost an X-File himself, intones “Star Me Kitten” over the band’s backup. If Friday nights come too far apart for you, you can grab a portion of Mark Snow’s “X-Files Theme” off the CD and put it on your answering machine. But there’s little of the show’s real joy on the rest of this disappointing disc.

—Andrew Webster