Looking for good tribute albums
May 8, 2012 4:51 PM   Subscribe

Tribute albums - I would like to hear your favorites.

All of a sudden I am craving tribute albums ... so I searched through metafilter and found lots of great covers / singles suggestions - spent hours last night listening to them - but still want some solid tribute albums, ie, homage to great songwriters or bands. For examples, some I already have, "Songs From the Material World" (Geo. Harrison) and "This Is Where I Belong" (Ray Davies) and "I'm Your Man" (Leonard Cohen).
So, what are some of your favorites?
posted by henry scobie to Media & Arts (124 answers total) 75 users marked this as a favorite
If I Were a Carpenter. Still holds up, fifteen-plus years later.
posted by roger ackroyd at 4:55 PM on May 8, 2012 [6 favorites]

Beat the Retreat is great.
posted by jeudi at 4:59 PM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]

I am a huge fan of Legacy: A Tribute To Fleetwood Mac's Rumours -- I still listen to a lot of the songs on there regularly. Some of the interpretations are amazing. (I have always loved Fleetwood Mac, but some of those covers are better than the originals, imo.)
posted by shamash at 5:00 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

A Nod to Bob
posted by Wordwoman at 5:01 PM on May 8, 2012

Weirdly, the Japanese have some unexpectedly good tribute albums. They don't tend towards the "note-perfect reproduction"-type covers (which I tend to think are kind of pointless, but what some people seem to expect in covers), so maybe you'll like them. YMMV.

Tribute to the Pixies
A Tribute to Japan (as in, David Sylvian)
Satori - A Tribute to Bauhaus

Who knew, eh?
posted by vetala at 5:07 PM on May 8, 2012

I really adore Loving the Alien, Danny Michel's album of Bowie covers.
posted by bewilderbeast at 5:08 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions is Bruce Springsteen doing Pete Seeger songs. It's not at all what you think of as Springsteen, and it's been on my rotation for years now.
posted by cmoj at 5:08 PM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]

I am so often disappointed by tribute albums, but one exception was Endless Highway, a tribute to The Band. And I think I didn't do the link right, so I apologize.
posted by wisekaren at 5:10 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sharp Dressed Men (Amazon mp3 link). It's an album of a bunch of country singers doing covers of ZZ Top songs. This album actually convinced me to like both ZZ Top & (some) country music.
posted by AMSBoethius at 5:12 PM on May 8, 2012

The Billy Bragg/Wilco Mermaid Avenue albums are full of Woody Guthrie lyrics that never had music written for them. They are awesome.
posted by jabes at 5:17 PM on May 8, 2012 [12 favorites]

Bad Scene, Everybody's Fault -- a Jawbreaker tribute.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:34 PM on May 8, 2012

My Lithium and Me: You Can't Hide the Beat (Bowie Tribute)
posted by kimdog at 5:37 PM on May 8, 2012

One correction, cmoj, to your excellent suggestion. Per Wikipedia, "This is Springsteen's first and so far only album of non-Springsteen material and contains his interpretation of thirteen folk music songs made popular by activist folk musician Pete Seeger."
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:50 PM on May 8, 2012

- I love Neil Young a lot but many of the songs on the tribute album The Bridge (with artists like Soul Asylum, Bongwater, The Pixies) I like as much or better than the originals.
- Sing for Your Meat, a Guided by Voices tribute (Kelly Deal, Flaming Lips, same sorts of bands) is great.
- Going Driftless an Artist's Tribute to Greg Brown is female artists like Gillian Welch and Mary Chapin Carpenter
posted by jessamyn at 5:53 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

The Late Great Daniel Johnston: Discovered Covered (Note: Daniel Johnston is alive and well.)
The Bridge: A Tribute to Neil Young, worth it for Dinosaur Jr. alone.
Versions of Joanna (Newsom) is mixed, with some brilliant moments and pleasant enough overall. Plus it's for a good cause.
Robbie Fulks did Michael Jackson country-style on his album Happy.
posted by hydrophonic at 5:58 PM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]

I love Stroke: Songs for Chris Knox.
posted by Chenko at 6:09 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

One of the earliest, and best, in my opinion, was Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father.

Also, um, Hal Wilner?
posted by ovvl at 6:20 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Glory of Gershwin
Covers by Peter Gabriel, Sting, Lisa Stansfield, Elton John, Carly Simon, Elvis Costello, Cher, Kate Bush, Jon Bon Jovi, Oletta Adams, Sinead O'Connor, Robert Palmer, Meat Loaf, etc.
posted by spasm at 6:25 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ubu Dance Party is terrific, plus Chad Van Wagner's tale of woe shows the kind of commitment it takes to pull together a tribute album.
posted by backupjesus at 6:37 PM on May 8, 2012

If you don't mind an obscure subject and (mostly) obscure bands, Guess Who This Is is a gem full of great songs.
posted by quarterframer at 6:44 PM on May 8, 2012

I love, love, love Por Vida: A Tribute to the Songs of Alejandro Escovedo. Escovedo is a wonderful musician and songwriter, and this album is full of other fantastic singers interpreting his songs. It was recorded to raise money for his Hepatitis C treatment.
posted by apricot at 6:50 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

A few years ago, the website Stereogum put together a few compilations of classic* albums covered, all of which are solidly excellent (which is unusual in my experience with tribute albums):

Radiohead's OK Computer
Bjork's Post
R.E.M.'s Automatic for the People
The Strokes' Is This It

*caution: application of this term may make you feel very, very old

Also, Fortune Cookie Prize: A Tribute to Beat Happening.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:08 PM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]

My absolute favorite is a tribute presented as, well, a benefit: Sweet Relief: A Benefit for Victoria Williams.
posted by jalexei at 7:08 PM on May 8, 2012 [5 favorites]

Red Hot & Blue - a Cole Porter tribute, and one of my favorite compilations of all time.
posted by spinturtle at 7:11 PM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]

The I Am Sam soundtrack has a lot of solid Beatles covers.
posted by HeroZero at 7:32 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

The only thing better than the Persuasions tribute to Frank Zappa, Frankly a Cappella: The Persuasions Sing Zappa, is their tribute to the Grateful Dead, Might As Well: Persuasions Sing Grateful Dead.
posted by euphorb at 7:37 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

I love the Tom Petty tribute album You Got Lucky. It sounds very punk, which is how I think of Petty.
posted by onlyconnect at 7:50 PM on May 8, 2012

For the Masses: An Album of Depeche Mode Songs. Not 100% winners, but some really good stuff in there.
posted by 1adam12 at 8:16 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Red Hot and Riot, the Fela Kuti one, is pretty good, as is the Grateful Dead tribute Deadicated.

And you didn't ask about DJ tributes, but Jazzy Jeff and Chris Read's Michael Jackson tributes are great, as is DJ Premier's James Brown tribute mix.
posted by box at 8:40 PM on May 8, 2012

This is Springfield not Shelbyville - a Simpsons tribute album. Note - I'm a bit biased - I played on this album.
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:51 PM on May 8, 2012

One of my all-time favorites is Virgin Voices, a Madonna tribute.
posted by Tchad at 8:54 PM on May 8, 2012

Sorry, not that one. This one.
posted by Tchad at 8:58 PM on May 8, 2012

The unfortunately titled Total Lee! is a nice compilation of Lee Hazlewood covers.
Four Songs by Arthur Russell is short and sweet.
posted by hydrophonic at 9:08 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding If I Were a Carpenter and The Late Great Daniel Johnston: Discovered Covered .


That Skinny Motherfucker With the High Voice, which is Dump (aka Yo La Tengo's bassist James McNew) covering Prince.
The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions, Seu Jorge doing Bowie.
"Pussy Cats" by The Walkmen
Wig in a Box, Songs from & Inspired by Hedwig and the Angry Inch
I am the Resurrection a tribute to John Fahey
posted by carsonb at 9:11 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]

Enjoy Every Sandwich: The Songs of Warren Zevon was in heavy rotation in my family for a while when I was growing up. My personal favorite is Jill Soluble's Don't Let Us Get Sick, but Bonnie Raitt's Poor, Poor Pitiful Me and some of the others are also pretty great.
posted by naturalog at 9:17 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

There's a new Buddy Holly tribute album called "Rave On" that has Modest Mouse, Patti Smith, and a really, really good Kid Rock version of "Well All Right."

No, I'm not kidding. The Kid Rock song is great.
posted by koeselitz at 10:06 PM on May 8, 2012

Not sure if this counts, but I love the tribute album for the fake Canadian punk band Hard Core Logo.
posted by ODiV at 10:19 PM on May 8, 2012

I personally like Hanky Panky, a Hank Williams tribute album by The The.
posted by charles kaapjes at 11:22 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Tribute to the Rutles.
posted by mazola at 11:32 PM on May 8, 2012

I love Enjoy Every Sandwich. Many of Warren Zevon's friends, family and others recording his songs. Really lovely!

I also like Fire and Skill. A tribute to The Jam, with some really interesting covers of their songs.
posted by man down under at 1:40 AM on May 9, 2012

I forgot this, too: I'm your fan. A tribute to Leonard Cohen. My wife and I walked back up the aisle post marriage to Nick Cave's version of I'm Your Man.
posted by man down under at 1:44 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

The two Hard Rain (Bob Dylan Tribute) compilations, originally available with Uncut magazine in the UK, are pretty good, if you can find them.

Everything Is Ending Here: A Tribute To Pavement contains a few gems (skip the awful first track). The highlight for me is the Alasdair Roberts (Appendix Out) cover of 'Frontwards'.

I Am A Cold Rock. I Am Dull Grass. (Will Oldham) Probably the tribute album I enjoy most.

Going back to the 90s, More Oar: A Tribute to the Skip Spence Album and Take Me Home: A Tribute to John Denver are both pretty great.

And a couple of others I really like:

Timeless (Hank Williams)

To Elliott From: Portland
We Could Live in Hope - A Tribute to Low

I may not have picked the best links here, but most of them seem to have at least previews of tracks
posted by pipeski at 1:50 AM on May 9, 2012

I really like Hip Hop Tribute to Led Zeppelin. It's great for both Hip Hop fans and Led Zep fans.
posted by Rob Rockets at 5:44 AM on May 9, 2012

nthing Sweet Relief. Amazing record...
posted by littleredwagon at 6:32 AM on May 9, 2012

Nada Surf has a cover album called If I Had A Hi Fi that is pretty damn awesome.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 10:47 AM on May 9, 2012

Can't believe no one has yet mentioned the incredible Radiohead tribute albums by Christopher O'Riley. Amazing, breathtaking, genius.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:01 AM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

HOLY CATS, BATMAN! I can't thank all of you enough for some fantastic ideas here. It's going to take me some time to check 'em all out - and I will be heading straight to the Princeton Record Exchange stat with a list. GREAT suggestions and well done all. Damn!
posted by henry scobie at 3:40 PM on May 9, 2012

What, no love for Dub Side of the Moon?
posted by higginba at 5:36 PM on May 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

A bunch more seconds, seconds late:
Dub Side of the Moon (and to a slightly lesser extent Radiodread) is pretty great.
Luther Wright & the Wrongs' bluegrass tribute to Pink Floyd, as long as we're on the subject, is pretty excellent as well: Rebuild the Wall.

I have a copy of one of the Hard Rain Dylan tributes (mentioned above), and it is indeed excellent.
posted by carsonb at 5:40 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I personally think Beatallica is excellent. Here's some of their stuff on YouTube. Here's their discography.
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:48 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding the Springsteen and For the Masses, both of which I loved. But I came here to recommend the Balanescu Quartet's album of Kraftwerk covers, Possessed.
posted by immlass at 6:14 PM on May 9, 2012

Jennifer Warnes covering Leonard Cohen Famous Blue Raincoat. It's a great record, can't recomend it highly enough. If I recall correctly, there are four new cuts on the re-release from a couple of years ago.

"Leonard studied all the sacred books," says Warnes. "He studied the sacred Jewish books and Christian books, the Persians and (Spanish poet Federico Garcia) Lorca. Metaphysical books. He's studied with great Eastern teachers. He once said to me: 'There's a reason why a sentence or one great phrase stays for centuries. It has to do with the way the line is weighted or placed, the way a sentence is constructed.

"Leonard writes words that address what it means to be in a human skin. I've read poetry that has as much beauty as Leonard's work, but in the world of music, Leonard is a rarity. He's heavy, weighted heavy on the side of describing things that go on inside a heart, what it feels like to be here.

"He might err on the side of the dark because his own depression has informed everything. His loneliness has informed everything. Being a Jew has informed everything. His mother escaped the Russian pogroms; he'll err on the side of lament."

excerpted from Portrait of Cohen: Two generations of Austin players acknowledge the majesty of one of America's foremost song-poets
posted by dancestoblue at 6:19 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

'Scream With Me' acoustic Misfits covers

'Beyond the Sea' and 'Further Beyond the Sea' ... "the surf instrumental bands of the world miraculously extend their repertoire"

'Sideshow' songs of Charles Ives
posted by methinks at 7:26 PM on May 9, 2012

Un-Led-Ed was a 1990's album by Dread Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin covered in a Reggae style with an Elvis impersonator front man. It works better than it has any right to.
posted by fings at 7:54 PM on May 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

20 Explosive Dynamic Super Smash Hit Explosions and 20 More Explosive Fantastic Rockin' Mega Smash Hit Explosions are tributes to K-Tel Records, with 1970s songs covered by 1990s alternative rock groups, and they're great.
posted by SisterHavana at 7:55 PM on May 9, 2012

Garage Inc. by Metallica. I like these songs more than most they've done recently. It also has my favorite version of Whiskey in the Jar.
posted by ericales at 8:16 PM on May 9, 2012

Bring You To Your Knees - a Guns N' Roses punk/metal/hardcore tribute album (best songs IMO? Dillinger Escape Plan covering "My Michelle" and Zombie Apocalypse tearing through "Welcome to the Jungle")

Dead Zeppelin - obscure death metal bands covering Zep. I don't have this album anymore so I don't remember what was good on it, but it was worth a lark.
posted by starvingartist at 8:46 PM on May 9, 2012

Oh man. I don't know if this technically counts as a tribute album, but I'm really obsessed with the I'm Not There soundtrack. The version of Goin' to Acapulco by Jim James and Calexico on there is just amazing.
posted by quiet coyote at 8:51 PM on May 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

Cheap Trick does a stellar job playing through The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper — in its entirety — on Sgt. Pepper Live. (Rdio link)
posted by case at 9:25 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

School House Rock! Rocks - some very mid-90's covers of songs we all should know.
posted by thecjm at 11:15 PM on May 9, 2012

Loved Like a Milkshake - A Tribute to Wesley Willis. We miss you, man.
posted by flyingfox at 11:50 PM on May 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Mick Harvey of Birthday Party covers Serge Gainsbourg songs. Intoxicated Man is the better of two elpees of that material.
posted by lapolla at 12:09 AM on May 10, 2012

Fade to Bluegrass is pretty fun. Band's called Iron Horse, and I guess they've done a bunch of cover albums.

The Flaming Lips cover of Dark Side of the Moon is pretty cool.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 12:36 AM on May 10, 2012

Twentieth Century Blues - a Noel Coward tribute album - not a bad cover in the whole lot.
posted by BigCalm at 2:03 AM on May 10, 2012

Love, Billy is a '98 5 song EP of Billy Bragg covers by ephemeral punk band Discount.

Also, Bill Bailey nails Billy's oeuvre in Unisex Chip Shop.
posted by ursus_comiter at 4:01 AM on May 10, 2012

New Tales to Tell: A Tribute to Love and Rockets was good.

If you can find it, put your hands on Cracked Pepper. It's a Beatles remix/mashup album of sorts, and I have to confess that I find myself preferring some of the remixes to the originals. Blasphemy, yeah, I know. I heard about it here on MeFi when it came out.
posted by jquinby at 5:32 AM on May 10, 2012

+1 for Dread Zepplin. Heartbreaker was just meant to be sung by Elvis.

I love cover/tribute albums. There's something about the constraint of performing someone else's songs which bring out a certain creativity.

Nouvelle Vague. 'Too drunk to f*ck' in particular is amazing, and amazingly good.
There's a Pink Floyd covers album which has some good stuff on it. It might be this.
I'm on fire by Bat for Lashes.
Contentious I know but 'Kashmir' by Monkey3 from Undercover is better than the original. 'Burn' is also wonderful.
'Stripped' live, by Rammstein rocks.
and, of course Johnny Cash's 'American IV' album of covers redefine the originals. 'Hurt' is seminal.

This mashup of zeppelin and Snoop Dogg works far better than it should.
I also like 'The number of da Boots' but YMMV...
posted by BadMiker at 6:08 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

After thinking about it for a bit, the first one that popped in to my head that definitely fits as a tribute album is To Willie, by Phosphorescent. An album of him doing Willie Nelson songs that I initially wasn't too hot on, but I've come to really really enjoy, and appreciate.
posted by mrhaydel at 6:11 AM on May 10, 2012

One of the best tributes is Phish live version of the Talking Heads album Remain in Light. I found this to be amazing because even the Talking Heads themselves never attempted to play the whole album live.
posted by wobumingbai at 7:35 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Stone Free is OK, but the really excellent Hendrix tribute album is If Six Was Nine, which is rare and weird to the point that I'm having trouble finding a reference to it anywhere online.

I'm also pretty fond of Surprise Your Pig: A Tribute to REM, and Every Band Has a Shonen Knife Who Loves Them.
posted by Dr. Wu at 8:09 AM on May 10, 2012

The Ska tribute album to Duran Duran changed my life.

Pretty hard to come by in physical form right now.
posted by frecklefaerie at 8:09 AM on May 10, 2012

Andy Timmons' "Plays Sgt. Pepper" is incredible if you like instrumental guitar music. Reportedly, he didn't go back to the original recordings during the sessions, but rather did the whole thing from memory. His "When I'm 64" done country is fantastic.
posted by alvarete at 8:24 AM on May 10, 2012

The Hal Wilner Stay Awake Disney Tribute is one of my favorites of all time

Folkways: A Vision Shared is a great collection of Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie songs
posted by pupdog at 8:28 AM on May 10, 2012

I haven't heard the entire album, much less the extended version, but two of my favorite songs of the past few years came from Ciao My Shining Star, a tribute to Mark Mulcahy of Miracle Legion and Polaris (house band for The Adventures of Pete & Pete!).

I can't recommend strongly enough Thom Yorke's version of "All for the Best" (and the original is great too). The National also do a fine job on "Ashamed of the Story I Told" (and here's the original).

Michael Stipe, Frank Black, Vic Chesnutt, Dinosaur Jr., Julianna Hatfield, and Elvis Perkins are among the other contributors.
posted by Idler King at 8:28 AM on May 10, 2012

I must also add that the "You Got Lucky" Petty tribute album is one of my favorites for one amazing reason: It has one of the most powerful and intimate songs I've ever experienced. Silkworm does a cover of The Insider that is breathtaking, transformative and kinda creepy.
posted by pistolswing at 9:19 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

My old restaurant used to play reggae music every Sunday, and my usual addition to our playlist was Is It Rolling, Bob?

Also I love Hayseed Dixie's first album, so let that color my opinions on music as you will.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 10:00 AM on May 10, 2012

I’m a big fan of Tribute albums as well. Here are some of my favorites:

Not Fade Away (Remembering Buddy Holly)
Red Hot + Country
Deadicated (Grateful Dead Covers)
Blue Light Rain (Jazz covers of Dead songs by Jazz is Dead)
Fire on the Mountain (Reggae covers of Dead songs)
Wake the Dead (Bluegrass covers of Dead songs)
All Aboard: A Tribute to Johnny Cash
Tribute to Bobby (Mike Hucknall’s tribute to Bobbby “Blue” Bland)
A Tribute to Joni Mitchell
Tribute to Bob Wills and Texas Playboys (Asleep at the Wheel)
Goin’ Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino
A Tribute to the Best Damn Fiddle Player in the World (Merle Haggard’s tribute to Bob Wills)
Lowe Profile: A Tribute to Nick Lowe
Soundtrack to Honeymoon in Vegas (Country Covers of Elvis songs)

And like 1f2rfbf above, I'm a big fan of Hayseed Dixie, especially their albums Mountain Love and A Hot Piece of Grass. Great bluegrass covers of rock songs.
posted by Sculthorpe at 10:24 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am particularly fond of the Ian Dury tribute Brand New Boots and Panties which is a track by track remake of the original.

However, the conceptual integrity of the project was severely compromised by the inclusion of Sir Paul Fucking McCartney, MBE, Hon RAM, FRCM. So I have never listened to that track.
posted by charlie don't surf at 10:56 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Couple of interesting ones here:

Enconium (Led Zeppelin tribute)

Nativity in Black (Black Sabbath tribute)
posted by dabug at 11:45 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

my 12-year-old self would be remiss if I did not mention theNativity In Black albums. Some high* points.

* I really wanted to link the cover of "Sweet Leaf" with the word high there, but I can't, because it's terrible.
posted by namewithoutwords at 11:47 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I had to stop by to second the recommendation of A Tribute to Joni Mitchell. It's all great and odd and interesting, but Prince's cover of A Case of You is simply incredible.
posted by soleiluna at 12:03 PM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Kiss My Ass: Classic Kiss Regrooved.

If you're into that kind of thing.
posted by Zippity Goombah at 3:03 PM on May 10, 2012

Some from my record collection:
Another Bowie tribute: Crash Course for the Ravers
Another Neil young tribute: This Note's For You, Too!
The Kinks: Shangri-La
Frank Sinatra: Chairman of the Board
The Smiths (The Queen is Dead): The Smiths is Dead
posted by obloquy at 4:36 PM on May 10, 2012

I almost forgot about Common Thread: The Songs Of The Eagles. A bunch of big name country stars cover The Eagles. I am not a country music fan at all, but I really liked this.
posted by SisterHavana at 9:39 PM on May 10, 2012

I will third that The Bridge is great, and many/most tracks are equal or occasionally better than the Neil Young originals (and if you've never heard Neil Young but like the artists, it's a good record). The first Nouvelle Vague CD and a few others mentioned are great as well.

But my absolute favourite tribute album (one of my favourite albums of any type) is The Eternal: Variations on Joy Division by the Nau Ensemble. (review). Most "Classical versions of..." or "String Quartet tribute to...." albums come off as note-for-note novelty Muzak to me. This is something else entirely. "...the music is more faithful to the spirit of the famous Mancunian gloom-mongers than it is to their actual themes. Indeed, you could quite easily fail to realise that it had anything to do with Joy Division at all, especially if you miss the gorgeous countertenor voice intoning Ian Curtis's sombre words as if they were a medieval liturgy."
posted by K.P. at 4:05 AM on May 11, 2012

Most tribute albums are covers of a few tracks by a particular artist. The Smiths Project consists of covers of every single song the Smiths ever recorded.
posted by etc at 6:59 AM on May 11, 2012

(Ǎhk-to͝ong Bāy-Bi) Covered is a recreation of the U2 album Achtung Baby with various artists and with pretty good results. It's available in iTunes and probably all of the tracks can be found on YouTube for listening.
posted by hippybear at 8:06 AM on May 11, 2012

Stubbs the Zombie: The Soundtrack. Modern/current indie/alt rockers covering 1960s pop, with such pairings as Cake - "Strangers in the Night", The Walkmen - "There Goes My Baby", and the rather strange The Flaming Lips - "If I Only Had a Brain".
posted by filthy light thief at 9:43 AM on May 11, 2012

And then there's the world of remix albums. Remixed & Reimagined: Billie Holiday and Nina Simone sounding more downtempo and/or house-y; and the Verve Remixed collection are some of the better sets. There's also Bob Marley & The Wailers – Roots, Rock, Remixed.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:55 AM on May 11, 2012

Late to the thread, but I love, love, love the tribute to Junior Kimbrough Sunday Nights. Iggy and the Stooges, Black Keys, Fiery Furnaces, Spiritualized, Cat Power all making some pretty primal jungle blues music and turned me into a huge admirer of Junior Kimbrough. The Black Keys' version of My Mind is Ramblin' is transcendent and probably the best thing The Black Keys have ever recorded.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:17 PM on May 11, 2012

September Songs - the Kurt Weil songbook. Nick Cave, PJ Harvey and the sublime Betty carter doing Lonely House. You will be moved.

Stay Awake - Disney songs covered by Sun Ra, Ken Nordine, NRBQ, Tom Waits... I don't think a month goes by when I haven't listened to something from this in twenty years.
posted by readery at 1:39 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've always been partial to A Passion of Covers, a Bauhaus tribute album.
posted by Jonny Camaney at 4:49 PM on May 11, 2012

AC/DC Live was a tribute to their dead singer, Bon Scott.

Ozzy Osbourne's album Tribute was a tribute album to his dead guitarist, Randy Rhoads.
posted by talldean at 9:08 PM on May 11, 2012

Shocked - shocked! - to get this far in a thread of amazing answers and not see two of my all-time favourite tribute albums mentioned:

Virus 100, the 100th release from Alternative Tentacles and a collection of Dead Kennedys covers. Great songs, regardless of your familiarity with the DKs - who can resist snarling teen angst, a capella?

Songs of Sahm is Festus, MO's own The Bottle Rockets covering thirteen tracks by the legendary Doug Sahm. I'm guilty of enjoying some of these more than the originals...
posted by Chichibio at 2:36 AM on May 12, 2012

Mark Kozelek aka Sun Kil Moon (previously of Red House Painters) recorded two tribute albums, Tiny Cities for Modest Mouse and What's Next to the Moon for AC/DC. (If you use Soulseek, there's a folder going around of the MM originals called "Tiny Cities Originals") I thought Tiny Cities was brilliant, WNTtMoon was still good but not stellar (but I'm not a big AC/DC fan).
posted by K.P. at 5:15 AM on May 12, 2012

This is a few days old, YEAH I KNOW, but I can't believe Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows: The Songs of John Prine wasn't mentioned.

You've got The Avetts doing 'Spanish Pipedream'. Bon Iver covering 'Bruised Orange'. And Old Crow Medicine Show taking on 'Angel From Montgomery'.

The whole thing is beyond stellar.
posted by youandiandaflame at 12:34 PM on May 12, 2012

IF you can find it, a number of alterna-pop bands from what seems like the general Athens, GA area did a tribute album for The Monkees called Here No Evil. It was released in 1992 and is now out of print.

I haven't been able to find a copy myself, sadly, but it's got Peter Holsapple doing You Just May Be The One, Pleasant Valley Sunday as performed by Magnapop and Mitch Easter (!!!) on Valleri. I want to hear this just on general principle, you know?

Also, I'd be up for singing on any Papa Nez tribute that anyone one would care to produce. Just sayin'.
posted by droplet at 6:48 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Wait! I was wrong! Here it is! Hooray!
posted by droplet at 6:49 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm a fan of:
- The Bird & The Bee's Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall & John Oates
- The Roots & John Legend's tribute to concious 60s & 70s classics: Wake Up!
- Elzhi's Elmatic tribute to the classic Nas's Illmatic
posted by elphTeq at 12:17 AM on May 13, 2012

Electronic Tribute to Pink Floyd has a pretty unimaginitive name, and awful cover art, but there's some really good stuff on it!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 10:04 AM on May 13, 2012

Twisted Willie: A Tribute to Willie Nelson, outtake: Three Days by L7 with Waylon Jennings

Stoned Immaculate: Music of The Doors, outtake: Hello I Love You (live) by The Cure
posted by monospace at 6:39 PM on May 13, 2012

Tribute to the Rutles.

The actual title of that album is Rutles Highway Revisited, and some of it is surprisingly good.
posted by klausness at 4:02 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Camper Van Beethoven did a version of Fleetwood Mac's Tusk.
posted by klausness at 4:09 AM on May 14, 2012

Also, Laibach's version of Let It Be is a classic.
posted by klausness at 4:14 AM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ther's also the 8-Bit Operators tribute to Kraftwerk, as if every other DJ doesn't do that on the regular anyway.

Ralf Hütter chose the songs.

OF COURSE he did. :D
posted by droplet at 7:32 AM on May 16, 2012

I just can't believe that it's been over a week and no one else has mentioned Petra Haden's a-capella version of the entire The Who Sell Out album. Reportedly recorded on a dare from Mike Watt.
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 8:59 AM on May 17, 2012

There are two volumes of The Song Retains the Name, a Zeppelin tribute, obv. I can only vouch for Vol. 2, which has contributions from the Bad Livers and Mojo Nixon. In the Zeppelin tribute pantheon, I was going to mention Pickin' on Zeppelin: A Tribute, by a group of studio bluegrass pickers, but when I looked them up, I saw that they had about 50 albums out, from their earliest, a Dead tribute, all the way through Pickin' on Kid Rock. I'm guessing you could pass on the Pickin' On series. There also is the Vitamin String Quartet, who do the same thing over 35 albums, classically arranged treatments of pop groups, and Rockabye Baby, who do lullabye arrangements of pop groups (I enjoy the Nine Inch Nail one, but I don't think I'd go out of my way for any of them)
posted by beelzbubba at 8:10 PM on May 21, 2012

I think it was only available in Australia, but there was an AC/DC tribute album called Fuse Box, I think, that had some really great reimaginings (and straightforward covers) of classic ackadacka songs.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:33 AM on May 23, 2012

Rock and Roll Doctor, a tribute to Lowell George of Little Feat, has some pretty good covers of some fantastic songs.
posted by coldhotel at 7:47 PM on May 25, 2012

One more: Postcards of the Hanging, it's live covers of Bob Dylan, by the Grateful Dead. It's good enough to make you forget about that other pairing of Dylan and the Dead...
posted by 1f2frfbf at 1:13 PM on May 26, 2012

Yet another to add to the list. Don't know how I missed this thread before, but I'm happy as could be listening to Todd Snider's “Time as We Know It: The Songs of Jerry Jeff Walker.” Related NYT story.
posted by pappy at 12:22 PM on May 29, 2012

Q People, NRBQ tribute. 'S pretty good.
posted by ergomatic at 10:45 PM on June 4, 2012

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