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The week's best releases from the pop-culture universe. 

CD -- Sinner: Joan Jett's best album in years plays with gender (covers of Sweet's "AC/DC" and the Replacements' "Androgynous"), leather ("Fetish"), and politics ("Riddles"). In more than 25 years, the proto-riot-grrrl icon hasn't change a lick, riff, or sneer. Jett's still the toughest female rocker out there, despite many challengers (including Le Tigre's Kathleen Hanna, who guests on one of Sinner's tracks). Put another dime in the jukebox, baby.

CD -- Child of the Seventies: Sixty-year-old Betty LaVette got a huge career boost last year, when punk label Anti- released the searing I've Got My Own Hell to Raise. Now the R&B singer's 1972 album, which was supposed to be her debut, before it inexplicably got shelved by her record company for more than three decades, has finally been released with a slew of bonus tracks (including the singles she recorded as a teenager in the '60s). Child, made with Muscle Shoals' crack studio crew, is a meaty slab of American soul -- still piping hot, even after all these years.

DVD -- Doctor Who: The Complete First Series: The original 1960s U.K. sci-fi series never really caught on over here, so this 21st-century update, which premiered on the BBC last year, is a good chance to check out the show that's inspired British nerds for decades. This five-disc box (including loads of bonus material) compiles the first 13 episodes, in which the time-traveling doc and his smokin' female companion take on giant spiders, space critters, and zombies.

DVD -- PJ Harvey on Tour: Please Leave Quietly: Harvey is the missing link between Patti Smith and Karen O. Harvey's first DVD documents her 2004 tour in support of her most introspective album, Uh Huh Her. Fortunately, Harvey and band are in more of a mood to tear shit up than contemplate their lives. Songs include fan faves "Meet Ze Monster" and "Down by the Water," plus a pair of previously unreleased tunes that get downright primitive onstage.

MOVIE -- Superman Returns: The world's most iconic superhero finally gets a movie worthy of his stature. Ignoring the crappy third and fourth movies, Returns picks up the action after 1980's Superman II. Director Bryan Singer -- he helmed the first two X-Men, so he knows superheroes -- gives the comic-book movie something it's always been short on: heart. Plus, Kevin Spacey -- super-evil in The Usual Suspects and Seven -- is the most ruthless Lex Luthor ever.

TV -- Shooting the Police: Cops on Film: Encore's clip-filled minidoc (airing at 8 p.m. Saturday) serves as an appetizer to the cable net's Summer Heat: 31 Days of Cop Movies celebration. The show unspools classic scenes from Die Hard, Heat, and, um, Rush Hour, while directors like Carl Franklin (who helmed the excellent One False Move) talk about the boys in blue who have walked the cinematic beat over the years. Arresting!

COURTESY FLUSH, PLEASE -- Looking for Stars: It's not an astrology show. Nor is it a guide for would-be stalkers. Rather, this Starz series (airing at 8:50 p.m. Monday) is sort of like American Idol without the singing. For 14 weeks, budding actors and actresses vie for a speaking role in Next, a film starring Nicolas Cage, shooting later this year. We're not sure which is more pathetic: aging MTV host Alan Hunter stepping into the Ryan Seacrest role, or the contestants' desperation to appear in a movie made by the director of XXX: State of the Union.

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More by Michael Gallucci

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