I’m Not There, Todd Haynes’s highfalutin, kinda-sorta Bob Dylan biopic, has its moments (and they mostly involve Cate Blanchett); it’s . . . interesting. But the I’m Not There soundtrack, two discs’ and 33 tracks’ worth of Bob Dylan covers, is ragged, raucous, and gratifyingly unpredictable — in other words, a perfect tribute to the man who first made these songs great.
At worst, the combinations of musicians and material — Eddie Vedder’s growling rendition of “All Along the Watchtower”; Cat Power’s breezy stroll through “Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again” — are reverent copies of the originals. At best, the pairings are truly inspired: Antony & the Johnsons contribute a dreamy cover of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” that will make you forget all about Guns ‘N Roses’ version. And the Black Keys take “The Wicked Messenger,” an obscure dirge from John Wesley Harding, and truly make it rock. For good measure, the last track is Dylan’s own unreleased recording of the title song, a haunting reminder that nobody does it better.
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