20. Kristin Kontrol, 'X-Communicate'
Kristin Welchez, better known as lead singer Dee Dee of the Dum Dum Girls, remakes herself as synth-pop superheroine Kristin Kontrol, who summons memories of the Eighties with wiry guitar lines, a wide array of vintage electronic textures and even the clean, shrill saxophone tone that pierced Psychedelic Furs songs. What keeps X-Communicate from dipping into mere kitschy pastiche isn't just its broad palette of sounds, but the solid songwriting of an artist trying to work through the snags and snarls of adult love. The pouty authority of her delivery makes these romantic dilemmas sound lived-in. K.H.