The short version:
Ben Folds—Fear of Pop Volume I: 5/10
Paul Schwartz—State of Grace III: 5/10
Les Musiciens du Louvre—Opera Proibita: Meh
The latest two albums I've been checking out are side projects by their artists that were released under pseudonyms of sorts. The first is Ben Folds' short-lived band Fear of Pop, with Fear of Pop Volume I. The disc sounds like a series of ridiculous B-sides that don't fit with Ben Folds' previous CDs, which is to say that it's not that great. It contains one excellent track that I'd heard before: In Love, featuring William Shatner. There's another song on the CD that I find pretty funny: I Paid My Money (:30 sample), about a guy who paid for an awful movie, and no matter how bad, he's going to sit through the whole thing to get his money's worth. Then, besides a few instrumental tracks like Avery M. Powers Memorial Beltway, there's not much on here that's very memorable. I don't recommend the CD, even if you're a Ben Folds fan, unless you're a big Ben Folds fan and must have a complete collection.
Next was the latest from Paul Schwartz' side project State of Grace, a choir for which he arranges modernized songs based on religious texts, the aptly-titled State of Grace III. This one has a couple sickening ultra-light pop tracks like Center of My Heart featuring Lisbeth Scott that make me throw up a little in my mouth. The highlights here are Listen featuring Lisbeth Scott, and Agnus Dei with the whole choir, but even those aren't that spectacular. Overall, the album is okay, but the first two in the series were considerably better and less sappy. Like Fear of Pop, there's no real reason to recommend this disc, especially since there are two already-released discs with almost identical names that are better.
I also listened to Opera Proibita by Les Musiciens du Louvre, but I'm just not in much of an opera mood. This one seems okay. It's not really interesting enough to make me want to listen to it while not doing other things, but the vocals make it distracting enough that it doesn't really work as background music. So... meh.
Next up I've got Amputecture by The Mars Volta, and the Generations soundtrack by Dennis McCarthy, both of which I've at least previewed. I've finally nearly run out my backlog of music.