Sandinista! was the most glorious folly of the Clash's career, an epic-scale three-LP set in which the band seemed determined to try a little bit of everything and offer it all for public perusal, whether it actually worked or not. That a significant majority of the album's experiments actually succeeded didn't quite compensate for the fact the ones that didn't hit the ground with a mighty thud, or that the sheer scale of the thing made it the rock equivalent of Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose, a marvel of obsessive ambition that was ultimately too big to fly. If you want to pay homage to the Clash, Sandinista! seems like a curious place to start, but rock writer Jimmy Guterman, who confesses a great sentimental attachment to the album, has compiled The Sandinista! Project, a tribute album in which thirty-five acts cover Sandinista!'s 36 songs in their original sequence (appropriately, Jon Langford and Sally Timms tackle both "Junco Partner" and its dub variant, "Version Partner"). The eclecticism that was Sandinista!'s calling card has carried over to the choice of performers who appear on this set, ranging from roots rockers like Willie Nile and Joe Grushecky, alt-country icons such as Jason Ringenberg and the Coal Porters and one-time left-of-the-dial stars Camper van Beethoven and the Smithereens to a jazz pianist (Jim Duffy, who handles the cover of Mose Allison's "Look Here"), a Clash tribute band (London Calling of Chicago, who offer a strong and not particularly derivative take on "Lightning Strikes"), and two folks who played on the original album (Mick Gallagher, who sits in with Soul Food for "Midnight Log," and Mikey Dread, adding a dubwise vocal to "Silicone on Sapphire" by the Blizzard of '78). In the spirit of the original recording, nearly everyone on board has gone out of their way to put their own stamp on these songs, and unlike most tribute albums, pretty much every artist has delivered a committed and enthusiastic performance. However, while Sandinista! swung from style to style and place to place, it had one great unifying element -- the Clash themselves, who in 1980 may not have been the only band that mattered but were certainly the band that mattered most, and the passion and tension Joe Strummer and Mick Jones were offering was enough in itself overcome many flaws. The Sandinista! Project lacks a similar charismatic presence to pull this together, and as a consequence it suffers just as much (if not more so) from the failings that crippled the Clash's album. However, there are far too many engaging performances of great songs to dismiss The Sandinista! Project. Perhaps, like the original, if it was whittled down to a single disc, it would be a more effective record, but those willing to dig will find some real treasure here.