I would have thought a gimmick record would be beneath John Petkovic, the creative engine who made Cobra Verde a fascinating rock & roll force for years. Well, not only does Copycat Killers abandon the concept of original material, it also abandons much of CV's raw recklessness. What's been substituted is a slickly recorded and deeply ironic album of covers that almost gets buried in meta-smartness. It's front-loaded with a clutch of genre-switched versions "Get the Party Started" (laissez-faire rock) "I Feel Love" (sans orgasm and disco beat, but with a très-glitchy bass line) and "Temptation" (which sounds like Bernard Sumner fronting The Hollies) and chuckles abound from the onset; but just when the joke should be over, you realize that Copycat Killers is surprisingly excellent. Sure, he manages to make a Leonard Cohen song sound like a Neil Diamond song and he sucks all the energy out of "Teenage Kicks," but somehow, by pulling the best parts from these songs (most often their hooks) and experimenting with them sonically and thematically, Petkovic has made a monster of a pop record that's far from gimmicky.