They may seem like odd bedfellows: KCRW, a bastion of independence, partnering with Starbucks, a stronghold of … when you drive one mile in any direction at any time and find something, it's probably not anti-conformity. Yet this may be an ideal metaphorical relationship, as all 15 songs on this collection are KCRW favorites – Sia, Dido, Girls in Hawaii, M. Ward – from more conventional artists (yes, folks, Radiohead is conventional, even when “Creep” is done by Damien Rice.).

Often times gathered from spontaneous experiments on “Morning Becomes Eclectic,” the songs are infused with impromptu excitement. Liner notes make this purchase (vs. download) worthy, where DJ Nic Harcourt's pithy remembrances accompany each song (e.g., downloading lyrics so k.d. lang could do a version of Leonard Cohen's “Hallelujah”).

It's lang's “Hallelujah” alone that makes this an essential CD. I challenge anyone to listen to her heartbreaking rendition without weeping.

Similarly melancholic is R.E.M.'s version of “Gentle on My Mind,” recorded the day after the song's author, John Hartford, passed away. Even the underlying pathos of Beyonce's “Crazy in Love” becomes apparent under the acoustic meanderings of the Magic Numbers.

The Covers Project showcases the endless malleability of music, just like the endless combinations of coffee orders at Starbucks. A Frappuccino with 6 flavor shots, three espresso shots, no sugar, two spoons of nutmeg, soy milk and whipped cream drizzled with the works?

It's the liquid equivalent of Sia covering The Kinks “I Go to Sleep.” And not just because both, the latter ironically, will keep you up.

Grade: A