The evil, brown bean oligarchs over at Starbucks at least show flashes of brilliant musical taste, as their upcoming Valentines Day comp of covers proves. Featuring M. Ward, Joseph Arthur, Neko Case, and our own Old 97’s, among others, Sweetheart: Love Songs went on sale on January 19 at your local Starbucks, at, Hear Music record stores, and Man, I hate to shill for Starbucks, but this looks like one fine comp.

In a post on Hitchhiking, Ken Bethea described the project like this:

We recorded it in September here in Dallas and… there are some other good songs on it, “My Funny Valentine” by Rufus Wainwright, who once partied w/ us on our bus in Canada, hehe quite a character (dammit, i just used “party” as a verb, I suck), Calexico does a Joy Division song and Neko Case (who once crashed our backstage in St. Louis, plopped down in my lap (I had no idea who she was) and purred into my ear until I blushed).

Anyway, check it out next time you get a cup of coffee.

No lie. Check out the list of of performing and original artists, and the track listing:

1. Rufus Wainwright – “My Funny Valentine” (Rodgers & Hart – Ella’s)

2. M. Ward – “Let My Love Open The Door” (Pete Townshend)

3. Neko Case – “Buckets of Rain” (Bob Dylan)

4. Calexico – “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (Joy Division)

5. Old 97’s – “She’s Got Everything” (The Kinks)

6. Gary Jules – “How Can I Tell You” (Cat Stevens )

7. Madeleine Peyroux – “Give Your Mama One Smile” (Big Bill Broonzy)

8. Sondre Lerche – “The More I See You” (Cole Porter – Chet Baker)

9. Martina Topley-Bird – “I Only Have Eyes For You” (The Flamingos)

10. Jim White – “Use Me” (Bill Withers)

11. Joseph Arthur – “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” (The Smiths)

12. Dean & Britta – “Forever” (Beach Boys)

13. Milton Mapes – “Your Sweet Voice” (Matthew Sweet)

14. Vinicius Cantuaria – “Inutil Pasagem” (Jobim)

15. Mindy Smith – “Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square”

BTW each artists also contributes the liner notes for their song. I’m getting mine.

And official word is out now about an item mentioned in the last update, and that is that Rhett has signed on with a new label, Verve Records. Said the Dallas Observer:

No, this does not mean the Old 97’s are breaking up: Rhett Miller has signed a solo contract with Verve Music Group, the major-label home for Diana Krall, Jamie Cullum and Edie Brickell… Miller will start recording sometime this spring along with returning members Jon Brion, who produced The Instigator, and Salim Nourallah, who played bass.

Also, New West Records has a pretty neat promotion up for the new Old 97’s DVD, where you can watch and download a couple of the numbers. Check it out!

Finally, in the post mentioned above, Ken Bethea also said that the band was, “looking into doing some shows in late Feb or March. I’m not sure where though.” You can be sure though, that I’ll post them here, if and when details firm up. So there you go.

Cheers, y’all.