You've heard the rumours: Sony shelved Fiona Apple's Extraordinary Machine album cuz they couldn't hear a single, and only resuscitated the project after ditching the original Jon Brion sessions and hiring Mike Elizondo (50 Cent!) to rejig the disc for mainstream appeal. Well, 20 seconds into the title track the plunking strings and belching tuba throw that theory into question. This ain't no superglossed urban-crossover pop; instead Apple cops her little sister's bruised cabaret chanteuse shtick, cooing over top of jaunty Looney Tunes orchestration and, uh, doorbells. Elizondo does try for radio play - the xylophone-goosed Tymps finds our girl rhyme-singing over a hiccuping backbeat, and Oh Well is a whiter shade of Alicia Keys neo-soul. It's awkward to hear Apple feigning street cred, but the biggest issue is that too many arrangements have no melodic or conceptual connection to the actual vocal tracks, which hover high up in the mix. No surprise that the highlight is the stark, graceful piano ballad Parting Gift.