WhiskyCats WhiskyCats, Album, Medical, December 8 ****
Proof that you can have a career as an unsigned band, The WhiskyCats are releasing their debut album on their own label, despite their recent brush with fame.
Hugely popular up north, they were the first band to sell out Manchester's Academy 2 and to headline the massive Academy 1.
There was outrage when they lost out on a place in the final of T4's Orange Unsigned - the X-Factor for cool kids - because the judges didn't think they'd got mass appeal.
They set out to prove them wrong in Johnny Marr's home studio. A gutsy, part gypsy-punk, part jazz-pop blast of fresh air, it's music to send toddlers and cidered up students into a frenzy.
But underneath the booze fuelled romp is a knowing, indie sentiment that keeps it all together - an air of The Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon. Clever stuff.
James Morrison and Nelly Furtado Broken Strings, Single, Polydor, December 8 *
James Morrison serves up another slice of housewife friendly soft rock, this time with the promise of Nelly Furtado to keep us awake through the first minute and a half.
She should have been the perfect addition to inject some life into his throaty, raspy musings - think Kylie and Nick Cave - but even her usually fiery performance has been dragged through the soft focus blender and Broken Strings is as mind numbing as the rest of Morrison's catalogue.
It sounds like an adult High School Musical duet or a chick flick montage soundtrack - sugary sweet and completely forgettable.
Cat Power Dark End Of The Street, EP, Matador, December 8 ***
The left overs from the recording session that gave us Chan Marshall's second album of covers, Jukebox, make up her latest EP and as usual the most predictable thing about the record are her unpredictable song choices.
She shuns her idols' popular hits, instead choosing to delve deeper into their back catalogue.
With this, Jukebox and her earlier tribute album The Greatest, she shows off her talent for reworking other people's songs and making them her own. Her take on Ye Auld Triangle by The Pogues is completely unrecognisable and her versions of I've Been Loving You Too Long by Otis Redding and Sandy Denny's Who Knows Where The Time Goes are particularly sultry.
A bluesy soundtrack to the long winter nights, it seals her transformation from quirky indie kid to full on soul belter.