Oh, I really should apologize to Peter Gabriel. I had pretty much written him off. I thought he was done, at least in the current-pop-culture-relevancy context. I don’t mean to downplay the immense contributions he’s made over the years because, really, kudos to him, man. I just thought he was, ya know, done. But then he goes and pulls a Johnny Cash and surprises the hell out of all of us. But with once-a-decade studio LPs, nothing should really be all that shocking. That said, PG’s newest release, Scratch My Back, is shocking, in a great way. First of all, the LP consists entirely of cover songs. And the picks are insane. No one would’ve pegged the former Genesis member for picking these 12 songs, out of all the songs in the world to choose. He credits at least some of his exposure to indie music to his daughter and after hearing Gabriel’s cover of Flume by Bon Iver, I’m about to send that girl some flowers or something; it’s amazing, quite simply. His choice to use only orchestral arrangements in lieu of traditional pop instruments makes some songs simply more interesting, while really doing something amazing for others; He takes Regina Spektor’s Apres Moi, to newly dark, cinematic, lofty places that the original song hinted at, even if he does lack her signature stop-motion vocal acrobatics. Without getting all fangirl, it is sufficient to say that the rest of the album holds up just fine. Release date is February 15th, 2010. Stream the album here.