Act: The Rocket Summer
Look: The Hello, Good Friend cover shot of a dorky dude with frazzled hair, a turquoise T-shirt, and a pink guitar could pass for ironic indie album art, but it's really him.
Lyrics: "Beautiful colors, they come from you/So this one goes out to the reds and yellows and blues."
Sound: These tunes conjure images of a Care Bear using a rainbow as a fun slide.
Act: Dashboard Confessional
Look: Tattooed punk Chris Carrabba resembles a clean-cut greaser.
Lyrics: "I hope you're as happy as you're pretending."
Sound: Undeniable choruses, sharp electric-guitar work, and clever phrasings make Dashboard much more endearing than most dumped guys who won't stop whining.
Act: Bright Eyes
Look: Conor Oberst lands on the barely male side of the emaciated androgyny scale.
Lyrics: "I wish I had a parachute/'Cause I'm falling hard for you."
Sound: Bob Dylan, if his voice were garbled by violent sobs instead of nasality.