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

CD -- Mistake Mistake Mistake Mistake: This solo album by the Postal Service's Jimmy Tamborello is credited to James Figurine, but anyone familiar with the work of his other band will instantly recognize the surprisingly warm and melodic blips and beeps. Pals like Jenny Lewis and the Kings of Convenience's Erlend Oye drop by to sing a couple of songs, but this is Tamborello's show. Every tasty byte of it.

TV -- Hitchcocked: M. Night Shyamalan, Kevin Smith, and Quentin Tarantino all have Alfred Hitchcock to thank for making homely directors every bit as recognizable as their stars. This look at Hitch's legacy (airing at 8 p.m. Friday on Encore Mystery) probes the roly-poly director's main themes -- namely, obsession, paranoia, and voyeurism. Interviews with modern-day directors and clips from such classics as Vertigo and Psycho show that his influence still lingers, a quarter-century after his death.

DVD -- Is It Really So Strange?: Morrissey is an odd character, but the mopey, sexually ambiguous singer has nothing on his fans. The former Smiths singer has inspired loads of tribute bands, as this doc makes clear. But the most intriguing revelation is that a large faction of Latino kids living in L.A. find Morrissey's melancholy-soaked songs inspirational.

DVD -- Meth & Red: How to Throw a Party at the Playboy Mansion: Taking party advice from an 80-year-old man is like talking to Mel Gibson about Chanukah. Thankfully, Hef handed over the mansion keys to veteran hip-hoppers Method Man and Redman, who indeed throw one hell of a bash. This DVD offers boobs, Jell-O wrestling, and more boobs. Best is the tennis match -- skins vs. skins, natch.

BOOK -- The Producer: John Hammond and the Soul of American Music: Hammond gave everyone from Billie Holiday and Aretha Franklin to Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen their first record deals. Dunstan Prial's absorbing profile of one of pop music's greatest champions traces Hammond's pop-culture-defining achievements, from breaking the color barrier of big bands to making Robert Johnson famous. The Producer essentially tells the story of the 20th century through song.

CD -- Signature Series: The initial batch of Legacy's new historical jazz series includes single-disc best-ofs by Rosemary Clooney, Dizzy Gillespie, and Sarah Vaughn. While the first six volumes includes one stinker (the Brecker Brothers), the rest -- especially the Count Basie and Billie Holiday albums -- are near-perfect primers aimed at novices and fans alike.

COURTESY FLUSH, PLEASE -- The Ron Clark Story: Matthew Perry will always be Chandler Bing. You can throw a pair of smart-looking specs on him and dress him in a fancy three-piece suit, as this cable movie does (airing at 8 p.m. Sunday on TNT), but we'll still be waiting for zippy comebacks -- which, unfortunately, fail to materialize in this true story about an inspirational inner-city teacher. As Chandler would say, "Could this be any crappier?"

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More by Michael Gallucci

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