More albums missed. Two lines, no waiting…

It's time for unforgiving fans of The Jam and The Style Council to get used to the idea that Paul Weller isn't going to disband himself and embark on any new phases. The title of Weller's stellar new album As Is Now (Yep Roc) could double as an admonition to grumblers to give in to the punk-pop veteran's maturing persona as a soulful rocker, in full simultaneous command of electrifying rave-ups like "Come On/Let's Go" and supple ditties like "I Wanna Make It Alright"…

More than a typical odds-and-sods collection, Reigning Sound's new leftovers disc Home For Orphans (Sympathy For The Record Industry) clarifies that Greg Cartwright's songcraft didn't abandon him on last year's uncomfortably noisy (yet brilliant) Too Much Guitar. Mellower takes on that album's "If You Can't Give Me Everything" and "Funny Thing"—as well as marvelous unreleased songs like "Find Me Now," and a winning cover of The Byrds' "Here Without You"—show off Cartwright's easy familiarity with the warm, bubbling spring that feeds American popular music…

It's hard to believe a band as accomplished as Seattle psychedelicists The Green Pajamas could stay so far underground for so long—more than 20 years now—but in the pre-White Stripes days, the raw and the trippy didn't need access to the mainstream to thrive. The band's latest, 21st Century Séance (Hidden Agenda), continues the willful collision of dreamy melodies and fuzzy noise, dressed up with homemade orchestrations that have long since passed the point of Nuggets homage and become wholly the property of Green Pajamas…

A quartet of vacationing L.A. scenesters make up The Grabs, whose self-released debut, Sex, Fashion, And Money, opens with an homage to Patti Smith's "Redondo Beach," and continues through an eclectic set of hooky post-new wave songs distinguished by the smoky voice of singer-songwriter Eleni Mandell. Songs like "Movie Star" and "Trail Of Mystery" sound like the B-sides to one-off singles by long-forgotten late '70s West Coasters, full of stung yearning and charmingly tinny guitars…

While The Joggers' debut album Solid Guild sounded too in-sync with the retro-angular New York sound of the early '00s, the follow-up With A Cape And A Cane (Startime International) is much looser and hard to predict, with some of Polvo's string-bending adventurousness and a lot of Pavement's shaggy melodicism. This year didn't produce too many more astonishing opening one-two-threes than this record's "Ziggurat Traffic," "We've Been Talked Down," and "Wicked Light Sleeper," which sound wholly improvised, yet completely on-point, from the first ragged note to the last…

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What better way to complete this "better late than never" exercise than with The Earlies' These Were The Earlies (Secretly Canadian), which came out last year in the UK and just a couple of months ago in the U.S., where fans of mood-and-mind-altering dream-pop have been waiting anxiously. Points of reference on this collection of singles and EPs include The Beach Boys, The Flaming Lips, Radiohead, and My Bloody Valentine, and though These Were The Earlies isn't itself a new classic on the order of anything those bands have done, The Earlies' fascination with sound over structure portends a potential masterpiece, and maybe soon.