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Top of the Barrel

Blast San Francisco Bureau

Not all tribute CDs are a total waste. Here are five that are worth your while:

1. "For the Love of Harry: Everybody Sings Nilsson" (MusicMasters): Endearing covers of the work of one of pop's true craftsmen. Highlights: "Good Old Desk" by Ron Sexsmith, "One" by Aimee Mann, "Mournin' Glory Story" by Jennifer Trynin.

2. "For the Love of Todd: A Tribute to Todd Rundgren" (Third Lock Records): Good luck finding this salute to the rock wizard; only 10,000 copies were produced. Highlights: "Izzat Love" by Jamie Hoover, "I Don't Want To Tie You Down" by Bill Lloyd, "Compassion" by Missy Miller.

3. "Elton John Songbook" (Connoisseur Collection): Less a tribute album that an eclectic collection of covers done through the years. Highlights: "Planes" by Colin Blunstone, "Border Song" by Aretha Franklin, "Your Song" by Billy Paul.

4. "If I Were a Carpenter" (A&M): Karen and Richard get an alt-rock makeover in these reverent covers, and the results are irrestible. Highlights: "Let Me Be the One" by Matthew Sweet, "Bless the Beasts and the Children" by 4 Non Blondes, "It's Going To Take Some Time" by Dishwalla.

5. "Melody Fair" (eggBERT Records): Bee Gees covers by some of the best unknown power pop bands around. Highlights: "If I Only Had My Mind on Something Else" by Let's Talk About Girls, "Run to Me" by Material Issue, "The First Mistake I Made" by Phil Seymour.