This week’s new or newish releases are motley and middling, sort of like the white elephant prize table at the office Christmas party.

Alfredo Olivas – El Privilegio (Sahuaro/Sony)
When we encountered Alfredito last week, we were hearing his song “Con La Novedad” covered by Banda Rancho Viejo. It’s possible this album won’t actually be released until January, per Amazon, but it’s also possible the whole thing’s currently up on Youtube, what with the Sony corporation’s attentions somewhat diverted these days. Olivas is a distinctive and “ito”-faced corridista and romantic who works with both a banda and a small group. He had a couple tracks on Hyphy’s El Corrido VIP comp.

Siggno – Zodiacal (Martzcom/Freddie)
Salido – “Ya No Eres La Misma” (Martzcom/Freddie)
Intocablish lopers.

Los Palominos – Strait Tejano (Urbana)
Now here’s something you don’t see every day: a Tejano band releasing an album of George Strait covers. Interesting, eh? In theory, at least. From what I’ve heard, these songs are less interesting than Strait’s own cover of José Alfredo Jiménez, “El Rey,” which may deserve its own thesis.

La Trakalosa de Monterrey – “Broche De Oro” (Remex)
A fairly nothing ballad with some nice close harmonies. Their padrino el diablo made them do it.

Chavela Vargas – Que Te Vaya Bonito (Caribe reissue)
Easily the most interesting person on this list, Vargas was a highly dramatic singer of ranchera torch songs, a movie actor, and a lesbian who came out late in life. Here’s a thesis to read! Like “El Rey,” this collection’s title song was written by José Alfredo Jiménez.