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October 31, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

Perhaps in an effort to shed her bubblegum-blond image, the now-brunet Mandy Moore has decided to devote an entire album to interpreting a dozen pop gems, including unjustly obscure ones by XTC (”Senses Working Overtime”) and the Waterboys (”Whole of the Moon”). Coverage earns points for good taste; Moore also covers master songwriters such as Joan Armatrading and Joni Mitchell. But she doesn’t have the courage of her convictions, gussying up a dozen good-to-great tunes with production so overblown with strings, turntable scratching, and arena-rock pomp that her perkily utilitarian voice, and the songs themselves, become an afterthought.

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