Various Artists

A Shiner wrap-up album, featuring live material, stand-alone singles and compilation contributions, will appear early next year. Hopefully, “Anytime,” which singer Allen Epley and drummer Jason Gerken recorded on No Escape under the pseudonym Ohms, will be among the featured tracks. One argument for its inclusion is the song’s high quality. The duo renders Journey’s version appealingly unrecognizable, drastically altering its melodic structure, fogging its earnest desperation with hazy guitars and distorted vocals and converting its opening isolated drumbeat into a seismic rumble.

Another reason to hope that “Anytime” appears elsewhere is to ensure it gets a home worlds apart from Wafflehouse’s atrocious arrangement of “Separate Ways.” This meandering misfire takes away everything that made the original an enduring guilty pleasure — a semi-tough riff stalking a vulnerable keyboard hook, Steve Perry’s pathetic take-me-back pleas masquerading as an angry ultimatum, a video in which the group transfers the air-guitar aesthetic to keyboards and drums. Instead, it attempts to juice the tune with double-time tempos, though it cuts the noise for a woeful, whimpering second verse. Wafflehouse repeats Perry’s signature Noooo! finale several times; listeners will have already uttered the exclamation long before the song concludes.

Houston, as usual, follows Shiner’s lead, radically revamping “Send Her My Love” with factory-crash percussion and bleak, spare instrumentation. (When the inevitable homage-to-Shiner album appears, look for these Minnesota twins to factor prominently.) Traindodge, on the other hand, treats the Vision Quest soundtrack obscurity “Only the Young” faithfully. No Escape ends up a merely passable tribute to an act that really doesn’t deserve any better.

Categories: Music