I'm a little late on this, but one of the best Christmas gifts I got this year was the self-titled CD by the Parting Gifts who are, essentially, Greg Cartwright from the Reigning Sound/Oblivians/Compulsive Gamblers etc. and Coco from the Ettes. The CD is, oddly, both rough and polished, the roughness in the extreme liveness of the sound and Cartwright's great, wounded bear of a voice, the polish in the really exquisite construction of these rock-into-country-into-classic-pop songs. Anyway, the Parting Gifts did a show on Terre T's Cherry Blossom Clinic, and you can download it via the Free Music Archive.
And then go buy the album, which is better.
Also picked up a used copy of the Reigning Sound's Time Bomb High School over the holidays...great stuff.
Oh, yeah, and check out the New York Times' Jon Pareles listening to the most superficial, candy-assed music possible and then whining about how simple it is.