Various artists

The last time pop stars put their collective spin on old Cole Porter songs was 1990’s Red, Hot and Blue, a compilation doing double duty as an AIDS awareness project. Debbie Harry and Iggy Pop’s “Well Did You Evah” was the quirkiest of the cuts, Neneh Cherry’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” had the best beats and K.D. Lang’s “So In Love” seemed lined with satin. Now MGM is publicizing its new Porter biopic, De-Lovely, almost at the expense of its estimable leads, Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd. Getting hype with equal fervor are the true-to-period performances of Sheryl Crow, Elvis Costello and Alanis Morissette. But minus the yet-to-be-seen visuals, only about half of the tunes on the soundtrack succeed. Talented Brit singer Robbie Williams (whose attempt to conquer America is stuck in neutral) effortlessly dons the panache of a pretty-boy crooner of the 1940s on “It’s De-Lovely,” and Diana Krall and Natalie Cole fittingly demonstrate vintage stylings, especially Cole’s sexy So strange the change/From major to minor from “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye.” Morissette and Costello, though, turn the project from fancy to folly, croaking with voices that work in the modern age but would have been hooted out of any nightclub worth its salty dogs back in Porter’s days.

Categories: Music