Various artists: Spider-Man 3 Soundtrack

Various artists
Spider-Man 3 Soundtrack
Record Collection

Peter Parker seems less dorky now than he did when we first met him, what with the body, the girl, and the suddenly perfect vision. So bring on the indie rock! The guy-from-Nickelback-to-Flaming Lips progression of the films' soundtracks feels backward, but I'm not one to complain about a lack of Train or Sum 41.

This disc corrals its heaviest hitters into the first half, starting with Snow Patrol's perfectly constructed ballad "Signal Fire," the best of numerous songs that equate safety with love. The Killers opt for a more intense track, whose roiling toms and guitar inferno conjure a stylish sense of menace that brings to mind contributions to '90s action-flick soundtracks by U2 and the Cure. But often, the big-name indie bands run on autopilot. The Flaming Lips give a melancholy, somewhat dull account of a boxing match between Spidey and Muhammad Ali on "The Supreme Being Teaches Spider-Man How to Be in Love," punctuating a tale of unspoken love with ray-gun noises. "Summer Day" is another tangentially movie-related novelty: Jason Schwartzmann and Kirsten Dunst (credited as Coconut Records) murmur a cutesy soft-shoe number with a call-and-response gibberish refrain.

It's the last third of the album where its hit-or-miss lineup really dissolves—a nice, quiet, MJ-moment tune by Rogue Wave, another unnecessary bit of rehashed sound from Jet, and tracks from a few unknowns who will likely stay that way. Then again, there is a fun dance track by a fellow named Chubby Checker. Have you heard this "Twist" song?