'Random' is an extremely eclectic selection of covers, re-interpretations and outright eviscerations of a bunch of classic old Numan tracks. It's downright surreal hearing Numan's songs being sung by other people, and the thought that there are at least 26 people in the record industry who like him is scary. Eclectic is the word - with a couple of exceptions, none of the covers are approached from the obvious direction, and the experimental approach is often interesting, although not particularly satisfying. On the rare occasions when the bands are faithful to the originals, it works - both the tracks with 'Die' in the name are recognisable whilst being identifiably new - the Magnetic Fields, in particular, invest their chosen tune with an odd air of restrained menace not present in the original. Most of the time, however, it seems to fall flat, and as the unpredictability becomes predictable you start to wish that the bands simply played the songs. Some of the groups are clearly having a great time - Earl Brutus interrupt 'M.E.' for a burst of Queen-esque soloing, and Bis augment 'We are so Fragile' with reggae - but that doesn't automatically mean that the end result is listenable, and the covers of 'Cars', 'Jo the Waiter' and 'Metal' might as well be other songs entirely. 'Films', on the other hand, is too faithful - it's some people rapping over the top of the original, something which you can recreate at home with a microphone and record player. Others, such as Towering Inferno's 'M.E.' are frustrating, in that you can see what the band were trying to do. Matt Sharp and Damon Albarn's version of the rare 'We Have a Technical', on the other hand, is extremely faithful but dull.
Still, it's nice to see old, seemingly-defunct bands such as EMF, Jesus Jones and Pop Will Eat Itself back again, though. Some of the band choices are useless, though - Republica smell of wet leaves, An Pierle clearly wants to be Tori Amos, but isn't, and whilst Kenickie gave good interview, they were rubbish, really.
All in all, it's a mixed bag - you'll probably listen to it at least once, for the novelty value alone.