Since Jeff Buckley's tragic death at age 30 in 1997, Columbia has offered balm to his still-devoted fans via the two-disc studio work-in-progress Sketches (For My Sweetheart the Drunk) and the excelle

Since Jeff Buckley's tragic death at age 30 in 1997, Columbia has offered balm to his still-devoted fans via the two-disc studio work-in-progress Sketches (For My Sweetheart the Drunk) and the excellent live compilation Mystery White Boy. Both were astutely, sensitively produced. Before Christmas, Columbia/Legacy will issue a boxed set of rare EPs associated with Buckley's sublime first album, Grace; the set boasts singles, studio outtakes, great live material, and such covers as "Lost Highway." Also in the works is an expanded, two-disc edition of Grace. With these commendable projects waiting in the wings, who would seek to profit from this mediocre collection of demos and live board tapes? Guitarist Gary Lucas collaborated with Buckley in the downtown New York band Gods & Monsters; along the way, Lucas wrote the music to the title track of Grace and its fellow classic "Mojo Pin." There is a similar marvel on Songs to No One, a long, otherworldly demo of the vintage French chanson "Hymn a l'Amour." The stark take on the country-blues "Satisfied Mind" is the same radio broadcast as issued on Sketches. Despite sparks of mercurial brilliance, the rest of this disc is plagued by variable sound and uneven performances. Hal Willner no doubt shepherded the project to make the most of something objectionable. Buckley would not have been proud of this.—BB

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