Andy Warhol almost got it right. In the future, everyone gets his or her own tribute album, evidenced by this 11-artist nod to the not-entirely-timeless Simmons & Stanley songbook, though it'd take a perverse palate to claim the KISS boys were ever anything more than perfunctory writers (Gene Simmons likes to claim all "rock" music is throwaway trash--spin control if ever we heard it).
Among those hewing yawningly close to the period-piece originals are the Gin Blossoms, Anthrax, Extreme and the Lemonheads (whose stoopidly faithful "Plaster Caster" is fitting, given Evan Dando's anachronistic eagerness to speak up on the subject of groupies). Lenny Kravitz is at least well-suited to shift "Deuce" from one '70s sub-genre to another, though he runs out of ideas--and of song--a minute in.
There are curiosities. An unrecognizable Garth Brooks does "Hard Luck Woman" under the very funny delusion that he's Rod Stewart. Dinosaur Jr. achieves the heppest transfer, transforming "Goin' Blind"--one of KISS' typical underage-girl anthems--into pure Angst with the updated line "I'm 93, you're 16."
Toad the Wet Sprocket, too, attempts major cheek by interpreting "Rock and Roll All Nite" as a wistful mid-tempo ballad, which sounds way more amusing than it turns out. Maybe they'll fare better playing "We're an American Band" for pathos on the inevitable Grand Funk tribute.
New albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to four (excellent).