Favorite

Here are the week's best releases from the pop-culture universe: 

DVD -- Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man: This documentary combines live performances by Cohen's disciples as well as an interview with the sometimes elusive singer-songwriter. Nick Cave, Beth Orton, and Rufus Wainwright are among the artists who pay tribute to the booming-baritone Canadian. Stick around for the end, when Cohen finally steps up to the mic and U2 joins him for a moving "Tower of Song."

CD -- Love: Based on Cirque du Soleil's Vegas extravaganza, this companion album of remixed Beatles tunes is a kaleidoscope of sound. Songs are reworked and reimagined with the benefit of modern recording technology. "I Am the Walrus," "Strawberry Fields Forever," and the "Within You Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows" mash-up peels back layers of music you never knew were there. The surround mix is ear-opening.

CD -- Nine Lives: Robert Plant thankfully steered away from blustery cock-rock on his nine solo albums, which this box gathers and expands with plenty of bonuses. Spanning globe-trotting world beats, troubadour-style folk music, and growling, rustic blues, records like Now and Zen and Dreamland found the former Led Zeppelin frontman in a relatively serene place. A DVD includes music videos, interviews, and a whole lotta hair.

TV -- Pee-wee's Playhouse Christmas Special: This holiday show hasn't been on TV since it originally aired in 1988, but now's your chance to finally see it: Cartoon Network's airing it at 10:30 p.m. Thursday. The hour-long special revolves around Pee-wee's increasingly long wish list to Santa. But like all of Pee-wee's adventures, it's more about the people, animals, and talking toys who visit the Playhouse. Plenty of surprise guests drop by, including Magic Johnson, Oprah Winfrey, and k.d. lang.

VIDEOGAME -- SingStar Rocks!: The best thing about this karaoke-like game (for PlayStation 2) is its awesome set list. Show off your vocal chops to songs by the Killers ("Somebody Told Me"), the White Stripes ("Blue Orchid"), and the Cure ("Friday I'm in Love"). You can solo, freestyle, or battle pals on attachable microphones. Now that you've realized your Hendrix fantasies with Guitar Hero II, it's time to step up to the mic.

DVD -- The Junky's Christmas: Nothing spreads holiday joy like beat poet and heroin addict William S. Burroughs. This 1993 animated short -- narrated by Burroughs in his usual dry, detached tone -- tells the tale of Danny the Carwiper, a junkie looking for a Christmas fix. Claymation and old-fashioned storytelling combine for a holiday fable worthy of the Naked Lunch author.

COURTESY FLUSH, PLEASE -- Darker Than the Deepest Sea: The Search for Nick Drake: Trevor Dann's bio on the late twee-rock singer-songwriter probes deeper than any previous Drake book. Unfortunately, the author labors over his theses: Was Drake's drug-induced death an accident or a suicide -- and, equally important, was he gay? So much ink is spilled on these tabloidesque subjects that Dann almost forgets to explore what made the British troubadour such an enduring cult hero -- his music.

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More by Michael Gallucci

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