Improve Your (Instant) Karma

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Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur (released June 12 by Warner Bros.) is a two-CD set of rich, famous musicians covering John Lennon songs that will raise funds to help the ravaged civilians of Sudan. It is worth the mild pain you'll experience to donate money to this eminently worthy cause while listening to some of your favorite Beatle's best solo material get molded into bland sonic paste. (You can peep the track listing here.)

The highlights for me are Youssou N'Dour's ultra-tender interpretation of “Jealous Guy” and, shockingly, Christina Aguilar's passionate “Mother.” Lowlights include Lenny Kravitz's slackjawed run through of one of Lennon's most harrowing tunes, “Cold Turkey,” Avril Lavigne's “Imagine” (Lennon's most overrated song done to syrupy ickiness by an overrated hack out of her depth), Flaming Lips' “(Just Like) Starting Over” (a cloying song sugared up to retching point), and Jakob Dylan/Dhani Harrison's limp, defanged “Gimme Some Truth.”

Still, it's only fair that you suffer a bit, even in your charitable mode, to get an infinitesimal idea of what Darfur's unfortunates are going through.

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