As evidenced by last year’s Sharon Van Etten-assisted rendition of “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” Shearwater’s obviously capable of an exemplary cover. “Fellow Travelers,” which takes on material by artists with whom it’s toured, shows that the band’s aim isn’t always so true. Certainly, Shearwater produces a few more winners, from the faithful (albeit itchier) take on the Folk Implosion’s “Natural One” to the upward-spiraling drama of Xiu Xiu’s “I Luv the Valley OH!!,” with a lurching electric guitar line and a snare that hits like the crack of a gun. But Jonathan Meiburg’s weary, swooping baritone (he sings like a sentient cello) and the sighing cabin-folk that works so well for “A Wake for the Minotaur” (an original duet with tourmate Van Etten snuck in on a technicality) flattens out much of the album. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “I Luv the Valley OH!!”
Shearwater performs at Brighton Music Hall on March 25.Marc Hirsh can be reached at email@example.com.