TOP PICK – CD
Little Dragon: Ritual Union
These Swedish beatmakers recently received a seal of approval from the Roots' Questlove, which makes their third album officially cool. Ritual Union is worth a listen even without all the famous fans fawning over it. Little Dragon skirt the line between electropop and R&B, and they're a lot weirder than that combo suggests, dropping rattles, hums, and soulful noise into their grooves.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Annihilation
The third downloadable content pack for one of the past year's greatest time-suckers is now available for the PlayStation 3. The five new maps include a rundown drive-in, a surprisingly colorful golf course, and an abandoned hangar, complete with a room that looks ready for an alien autopsy. Best of all there's a new zombie level called “Shangri-La,” where paradise is quickly overrun with flesh-eating monsters.
Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil
This sequel to the 2005 animated movie once again borrows Shrek's fairy-tale pillaging and skewering. And once again it falls short of the Shrek franchise. But there are still plenty of winks aimed at both adults and kids. This time Red Riding Hood goes undercover to find the kidnapped Hansel and Gretel, with twists on spy movies, children stories, and pop culture along for the ride.
Dolly Parton: Better Day
(Dolly/Warner Music Nashville)
The country queen wrote every song on her latest album, making it one of her most personal outings in years. Parton can slip into sappy at times, but Better Days is mostly an album stuffed with the sort of homespun twang she does so well. And she cranks it up all the way on the album's best songs, declaring her love for her man on one song and then slapping him around on another.
Tracy Morgan: Black and Blue
Tracy Morgan is so hard to pin down, bleeding his real life with his stage one. Is he playing himself on 30 Rock? Probably. And in this stand-up show recorded at the Apollo Theatre he unloads a bunch of random shit about sex, drugs, Obama, and being black and white in America these days. Morgan can be hit-or-miss here, but when he's on, he's one interesting and messed-up dude.