In Brief

* * * The Meat Puppets, "No Joke!" PolyGram. After 15 years, Arizona's Meat Puppets are still experimenting with strange recombinant musical possibilities. Though a fair number of these tracks barrel along in an energetic, tried-and-true country-rock/punk-pop mode, a few intriguing mongrels do crop up--notably "Head," a kind of chamber music power ballad woven out of piano, strings and guitar, and "For Free" which meshes a subtle Eastern tang with a definite Western twang.

New albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).

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