In Time: The Best Of R.E.M. 1988-2003

You may remember what a big, brow-knitting deal it was when, in the late Eighties, America's favorite indie band left IRS Records and signed with Warner Bros. for a few million bucks. This eighteen-track retrospective of the more cerebral Warner years shows that R.E.M. stuck to their principles and kept on their path,

In Time zigs and zags chronologically, with no discernible programming logic other than feel. Automatic for the People, R.E.M.'s greatest achievement, rightfully merits four tracks. Half a dozen other albums get one or two cuts apiece, and there's a pair each of new songs ("Bad Day," "Animal") and soundtrack items. A few bucks more will nab the "special edition," which adds a disc of B sides and rarities.