Making a list? Checking it twice? Here are some guidelines to keep befuddled spouses, parents of teenagers and others on the right track.

*** 1/2 VARIOUS ARTISTS, "Dr. Dre Presents . . . The Aftermath," Aftermath Entertainment/Interscope. On a collection featuring artists and producers Dre has signed to his new label, the rap producer is like the post-Lakers Pat Riley: He's working without his old championship-level superstars but is still able to bring the best out of his new team.

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Albums and other items in the Gift Guide are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).

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