By Leah Greenblatt
Updated August 20, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

Back in 2005, the British-born Sri Lankan Mathangi ”Maya” Arulpragasam burst onto the indie scene like a neon-stemmed bird of paradise, dropping Arular, a cultishly revered album of dirty beats and politically charged baile funk. A clutch of lackluster tracks aside (including first single ”Boyz”), Kala is propelled by genuinely stellar moments: the manic thrall of ”Jimmy,” the ferocious gunshot-chorused ”Paper Planes.” Others may imitate her dense dancehall style (paging Lily Allen!), but even when M.I.A. fails, few manage to innovate quite so bravely. B
DOWNLOAD THIS: Hear ”Paper Planes” on YouTube