On Hempilation: Freedom Is Norml, 17 artists perform “their favorite pot song, get-high song, or stoner song” to benefit the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. The disc’s liner notes assert that “Countless songs have been written about—and under—the influence of marijuana.” Most of the compositions included here are drawn from the former category (perhaps necessarily, since the latter would presumably include much of the music produced during the rock era). None of Hempilation’s pro-pot covers are at all irreverent: One, Ian Moore’s “Champagne and Reefer,” even opens and closes with excerpts from Muddy Waters’ original, as if to emphasize how little difference there is between the two versions. Since the artists stick close to their sources, the disc’s strongest tracks are those by the best songwriters. These include Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” (a spirited live version by High Times cover boys the Black Crowes opens the album) and Van Morrison’s “And It Stoned Me” (soulfully rendered by Widespread Panic, though it should be noted that the song’s about booze, not pot). The majority of Hempilation’s covers are of songs by ’60s-era artists, and most are performed by blues-rockers. In fact, the disc’s artist roster reads like a HORDE tour reunion, with Blues Traveler covering Sly and the Family Stone’s “I Want to Take You Higher,” the Screamin’ Cheetah Wheelies performing Joe Cocker’s “High Time We Went,” and Allman Brothers side project Gov’t Mule taking on Steppenwolf’s “Don’t Step on the Grass, Sam.” Perhaps because hymns to being stoned are hopelessly dated, such retro acts fare best here: Contributions like “I Want to Get High” by contemporary dope-rappers Cypress Hill only underscore this point. One warning, though: Hempilation may make you paranoid. A liner note injunction reads, “Now you can contribute cash to NORML without anyone knowing about it (except the store clerk).” —Nicole Arthur