The list of artists alone on the soundtrack to the upcoming film Great Expectations is enough to send one into alt-pop heaven.
Tori Amos, ex-Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, Duncan Sheik and Stone Temple Pilots lead singer Scott Weiland all contribute new songs, most of which were specifically written with the movie in mind and in conjunction with the mood of the entire piece.
If you've seen the moody previews for the film, the first couple of tracks seem to fit like a glove.
Tori Amos is expectedly intense and affecting on "Siren," which sounds like something you'd hear on her debut album, Little Earthquakes. The quirkiness and abstract imagery is there, but it's more innocent, and kicks the album off nicely.
Mono's "Life in Mono" is the eerily attractive song you hear in previews, and it's just that: a sexy, uninhibited wisp of a song.
Chris Cornell is also surprisingly subtle, registering strongly with the pleading "Sunshower." The simplicity of his guitar nicely frames his yearning vocal delivery.
Pretty-boy Sheik takes the volume up a notch or so on the innocuously pleasant "Wishful Thinking," and Poe is slyly ironic on "Today," which benefits from a more spoken-word delivery and quirky vocal effects.
Weiland gives us a preview of his upcoming solo album featuring the song "Lady, Your Roof Brings Me Down." The song is a jangle of strings and guest accordion playing by Sheryl Crow, with Weiland's sing-song delivery added as a nice touch.
A sense of unity holds all these songs together, and that cohesiveness comes from careful planning on the part of artists who contribute more than simply phoning in a song to make a quick buck.