Reveal (Warner Bros.)

R.E.M.’s second disc without drummer Bill Berry is even more experimental than 1998’s Up, which went the opposite way on the music charts. But on its 12-cut, 12th studio album, the seminal Athens, Georgia, rock band balances left-of-center quirks with middle-of-the-road pop tunes that’ll undoubtedly win back a few fans. And right now, R.E.M. really needs them.

Richard Thompson
Action-Packed: The Best of the Capitol Years (Capitol)

Throughout the past three decades, this English guitarist has amassed an impressively diverse body of work, encompassing every genre imaginable, from folk to rock to country to soul. This disc captures some of his best material from 1988’s Amnesia to 1999’s Mock Tudor.

Joshua Redman
Passage Of Time (Warner)

The seventh bandleading disc from this California tenor saxist is one continuous suite of music. Unlike other contemporary jazz artists, Redman prefers old school to New Age, utilizing sweeps of noodly notes, upright bass, and other types of noncomformity that would make his father, Dewey Redman, proud.