Various, Free The West Memphis 3 (Aces and Eights): From Steve Earle's opener, the gonzo hillbilly blues "The Truth," through Killing Joke's dark, new-wavy "Our Last Goodbye," Free the West Memphis 3 is an excellent benefit album that holds together as a real album, rather than a random collection of tracks. The West Memphis 3 — Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols and Jessie Misskelley — are three young men currently imprisoned for the murder of three second-graders in the woods of West Memphis, Tenn. Some believe they were falsely convicted. Every song here is a winner. Ex-Clash singer Joe Strummer and the Long Beach Dub All-Stars, performing "The Harder They Come" — yeah, it's as good as you'd hope it would be. And what about "Poor Girl" — written by former X leaders John Doe and Exene Cervenka, produced by former X guitarist Billy Zoom, sung by Eddie Vedder and performed by the Supersuckers? Does it rock? You bet. Ex-Breeder Kelley Deal delivers an up-yours version of Pantera's "Fucking Hostile" and L7 follow an on-point spoken-word intro by Jello Biafra with the sludge-metal "Boys in Black. " And then there's Tom Waits, contributing "Rains on Me," a song he wrote with Chuck E. Weiss. A guitar or two, a couple of drums and a drunken chorus provide the minimal setting. Delivered in a voice weathered as an old trunk, Waits' words seem to sum up the lives of the West Memphis 3: "This is how the world will be/ Everywhere I go it rains on me." — Michael Goldberg

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