August 04, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

Are the deluxe versions of these 80s classics worth the upgrade?

Three mid-’80s albums by British alternative legends the Cure have just been reissued in expanded two-CD deluxe versions. But are they worth the cash?

ORIGINALS
In the liner notes for The Top (1984), Cure leader Robert Smith calls it ”the solo album I never made,” and it’s an uneven disc with only a few bright spots — most notably ”The Caterpillar.” The other two are must-own classics: The Head on the Door (1985) was the Cure’s U.S. breakthrough, and the double album Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me (1987) mixes meandering Goth psychedelia (”The Kiss”) with pretty pop perfection (”Just Like Heaven”).

REISSUES
Each two-CD set includes a remastered version of the original album, plus a generous bonus disc of demos (both instrumental and vocal), alternate mixes, and live tracks. Of special interest are a handful of Robert Smith’s self-recorded home demos, which firmly establish his auteur status.

VERDICT
Not worth it. While the remastering is excellent and the live cuts capture their force in concert, the alternate mixes will interest only fanatics. For rarities, 2004’s Join the Dots boxed set is a better pick.

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