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Lisa Marie Presley 

Now What (Capitol)

It's probably a little early for Lisa Marie Presley, musician, to bring up the expectations attached to her new album. A more appropriate title for this follow-up to the rock-and-roll scion's 2003 debut, To Whom It May Concern, might've been Now Who?

Not that Presley's inexperience as a singer has kept her from surrounding herself with a crack team of record-biz vets that here includes Tori Amos producer Eric Rosse, Aimee Mann sideman Michael Lockwood, songwriter Linda Perry, and such familiar liner-note names as Joey Waronker and Roger Manning. Their work pretty much constitutes the attraction of Now What, which is never a good thing -- a killer lead-guitar line should frame a good tune, not act as the painting itself.

Presley's problem is that she hasn't figured out how to turn her surely insane background into compelling music: "Thanks for throwing me the line when I lost sight of it," she sings over a gently crunching pop-rock groove in "Thanx," "You're the only reason I can exhale." Exhale or yawn -- your choice. Fortunately, this deficiency doesn't present itself in Presley's take on Don Henley's "Dirty Laundry," which nearly manages to outsleaze the original. Who'd know more about making a living off the evening news than the King's daughter and the King of Pop's ex-wife?

More by Mikael Wood

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