Well, this is disappointing. This month's issue of the Brit music magazine Q comes with a free CD of 15 songs handpicked by cover boys R.E.M. and -- with the notable exception of Big Star co-founder Chris Bell's exquisite 1978 "I Am the Cosmos" -- just about all of them are by friends and collaborators of the band. It's like an alternative rock Bar Mitzvah reception.
Oh well. If you're interested, you can sample all fifteen tracks here, along with explanatory notes by messrs Stipe, Buck and Mills.