VAR­I­OUS ARTISTS Al­most Alice (Buena Vista

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Records) Not to be con­fused with Danny Elf­man’s sound­track for Tim Bur­ton’s new 3-D film, Al­most Alice is a com­pan­ion al­bum that fol­lows in the foot­steps of two suc­cess­ful CDs with Bur­ton ties: 2006’s two-disc deluxe al­bum re­leased in con­junc­tion with The Night­mare Be­fore Christ­mas’ de­but 3-D the­atri­cal run, and a fol­low-up com­pan­ion sound­track, 2008’s Night­mare Re­vis­ited. Al­though Al­most Alice will prob­a­bly en­joy com­pa­ra­ble suc­cess, thanks to a sta­ble of top-tier bands and mu­si­cians (in­clud­ing Avril Lav­i­gne, Owl City, and Wolfmother), it is a dis­ap­point­ment. Lack­ing a co­her­ent song or­der and miss­ing a tone that speaks to Bur­ton’s knack for great sto­ry­telling and his uniquely dark take on fan­tasy, the al­bum plays like a rush job that has very lit­tle to do with the film’s story and Bur­ton’s in­tended creepy un­der­tones within it. Buena Vista Records, a sound­track arm of the Walt Dis­ney Mu­sic Group that also over­sees the release of Baby Ein­stein ma­te­rial and karaoke CDs (and Hi­lary Duff swill), made rot­ten cab­bages in­stead of kings here. Still, a few of Al­most Alice’s songs are worth a down­load, in­clud­ing Robert Smith’s (The Cure) trippy, syn­thy re­work­ing of “Very Good Ad­vice” (from the 1951 Alice in Won­der­land sound­track) and Grace Pot­ter and the Noc­tur­nals’ en­er­getic take on Jef­fer­son Air­plane’s “White Rab­bit.” Bonus tracks, none of them very good, are avail­able ex­clu­sively through iTunes and at (ugh) Hot Topic. — Rob DeWalt

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