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Underrated/Overrated

October 14, 2012

UNDERRATED

Calexico: Few bands are as steeped with the sound of its geography as this project led by guitarist Joey Burns and drummer John Convertino. Based in Tucson, the long-running band has built a career out of mining the sounds of the Southwest for a lush and at times noirish take on borderless rock. The band's rich new album, "Algiers," was recorded in New Orleans, but you can feel the world warmly tilt to the dustier climates with every listen.

Powers Boothe in "Nashville": There's not a whole lot to say about this soapy "Dallas"-meets-CMT TV drama (other than it's a pleasure to see Connie Britton back in her element after the campy "American Horror Story"), but Boothe is at his villainous best as the show's J.R.-like patriarch and power broker, Lamar Wyatt. Growling and gleefully chewing scenery, Boothe flexes the same sinister air as his steely turns in "Tombstone" and "Deadwood."

OVERRATED

New Jersey: The Garden State's been the butt of jokes for years, but now the pop culture pendulum has swung the other way. It's not that shows like the mercifully cancelled "Made in Jersey" and its predecessors "Jersey Shore" and "Real Housewives of New Jersey" give the state an inflated sense of self (New Yorkers will surely ensure that doesn't happen), it's that an overabundance of Jersey unfairly prevents so many other states from branding themselves with annoying stereotypes too.

Celebrity digestive mishaps: Now that smartphones have made great strides in capturing the freakishly famous on video, footage is readily available anytime someone gets a little green in public. First Justin Bieber learned the dangers of dairy last month, and now Lady Gaga had a digestive incident of her own onstage in Spain. We just need a third incident and it's a trend: Getting sick will officially replace the sex tape as the new low-budget career boost.

— Chris Barton

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