“Under Cover” is essentially Disc 4 of this spring’s “Prince of Darkness” box set, but for reasons that trouble the imagination, it mercilessly omits the “Born To Be Wild” duet with Miss Piggy (oink if you must, but it’s not any worse than listening to the doddering Prince chomp the head off of “For What It’s Worth”).
But what’s most surprising about this set of obvious frat-bar covers is the half or so that don’t suck. Ozzy works up something approaching a sweat on “Mississippi Queen,” does a serviceable job with “Sunshine of Your Love” and manages a “Sympathy for the Devil” that, well, isn’t any more half-hearted than Guns N’ Roses’. The man did front Black Sabbath for a spell. He knows what he’s doin’.
That said, any time Ozzy thinks about a ballad you find yourself pulling for Bruce Dickinson to enter the studio with boxing gloves on. Of particular offense is a soul-starved “In My Life” that could turn your blood into grape jam. Though, as they are on every track here, Ozzy’s vocals have nearly been pitch-corrected into synthetic perfection — he’s like a heavy-metal R2D2, only much more difficult to comprehend.
No one could file “Under Cover” within a country mile of necessary. But on the plus side, its second life as an awkward holiday re-package may mean that the post-reality show flurry of Sideshow Oz material may finally be on the wane. Of course, there are plenty of other Muppets.