After nearly four years between albums, "Weird Al" Yankovic returns to once again deconstruct some of the pop hits of the day.

After nearly four years between albums, "Weird Al" Yankovic returns to once again deconstruct some of the pop hits of the day. Poodle Hat crackles with amusing parodies of tunes by Eminem, Nelly, Avril Lavigne, Backstreet Boys, and Billy Joel. One cut is a polka medley that includes songs by Papa Roach, System of a Down, the Vines, the White Stripes, the Strokes, Disturbed, Rage Against the Machine, Limp Bizkit, Staind, and Kid Rock. Also spotlighted are a half-dozen new original tunes, including homages to Bob Dylan and Frank Zappa. At a time when most comics are straining at the boundaries of good taste, Yankovic's easy-going humor might seem arcane at first. But a close listen to "Ebay" or "Couch Potato" shows that he's out to do more than merely be an entertainer. He's a sharp observer of the world—and that's what makes Yankovic such an enduring, compelling figure.—LF