Elliott Smith: "New Moon"
Producer: Larry Crane
Kill Rock Stars
Release Date: May 8

The second posthumous double album from the Smith archives, "New Moon" is more of a proper album (and a more satisfying listen) than the 2004 set "From a Basement on a Hill." Rather than a collection of half-finished songs from the last few months of Smith's life, "New Moon" does him justice by compiling outtakes from his peak creative period, the span between 1994 and 1997 when albums like "Elliott Smith" and "Either/Or" turned the public's attention toward this scruffy kid from the Pacific Northwest with Beatles-esque melodic talents. Outtakes from both those records make up the bulk of "New Moon," and though few are adorned with lush arrangements, there are some real gems here ("High Times," "Fear City" and a stripped-down version of the previously overworked "Pretty Mary K" among them). In death, as in life, Smith remains an inspiration. --Troy Carpenter