Various Artists: Freedom of Choice (1992)
This is one of the better ones. The album features a litany of 90s alt.rock superstars (some enduring, some... less so) with their take on various New Wave-era hits & misses. (Plus, as a bonus, the proceeds went to Planned Parenthood.) And while much of this is, like any tribute album, truly inessential, there are a handful of tunes I still listen to today.
As usual, Sonic Youth drops by and provides the stand-out track (see also their tributes to the Beach Boys, Neil Young, and the afore-referenced Carpenters). In this case, they take the slightly fringe-hit "Ca Plane Pour Moi" by Plastic Bertrand and give it the Sonic Youth treatment, a blistering barrage of guitars that demands testing the limits of your speakers, the nonsensical French lyrics washed in fuzz. Yo La Tengo similarly refashions (but just barely) Blondie's "Dreaming" as a fizzy indie rock pop tune, as do the Muffs with the Paul Collins Beat's "Rock & Roll Girl"; Redd Kross amps up the Go-Gos' "How Much More"; Superchunk turns Devo's "Girl U Want" into... well, a Superchunk song; the Connells provide a faithful but still enjoyable cover of Split Enz's perfect pop tune "I Got You." The album closes out with Soul Asylum's joyously sloppy revisit to the Vibrators' bubblegum-punk "Baby Baby."
Again, nothing here that's gonna change your life, but a fistful of fun nonetheless.
Here's Sonic Youth: