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DAVID GREENE, Host:

This morning, we're taking a moment to celebrate the return of some beloved performers, The Muppets.

(SOUNDBITE OF A THEME SONG, "THE MUPPET SHOW")

THE MUPPETS: (Singing) It's time to play the music. It's time to light the lights. It's time to meet The Muppets on the Muppet Show tonight.

GREENE: Now, it's not "The Muppet Show" exactly, but a musical tribute to The Muppets is out from Walt Disney Records. It comes in advance of a new Muppet movie out in November. "Muppets: The Green Album" features 12 classic Muppet songs, interpreted by some of today's artists who are also big, big Muppet fans. Like musician Andrew Bird, who covers Kermit's "Being Green."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BEING GREEN")

ANDREW BIRD: (Singing) It's not easy being green, having to spend each day the colors of the leaves...

BIRD: When you're little you just hear the first couple lines and you get the sentiment. But when you get into the whole song, you kind of realize what a psychologically complicated song it is.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BEING GREEN")

BIRD: (Singing) And people tend to pass you over, 'cause you're not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water or stars in the sky. Green is the color of spring...

He comes to terms with being green and he kind of like, you know, it's green is all that you can really be, and why wonder, why wonder?

GREENE: This all makes you wonder why, but why wonder? Well, I wonder. I'm green and I think it's beautiful. Besides that's all I want to be...

GREENE: That is Andrew Bird's version of "Being Green" from "Muppets: The Green Album." Also covered are "Rainbow Connection," "Moving Right Along," and a classic that needs no introduction. Here it is by the rock band, The Fray.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MAHNA MAHNA")

THE FRAY: (Singing) Mahna Mahna. Do doo be-do-do. Mahna Mahna. Do do-do do. Mahna Mahna. Do doo de-do-do, de-do-do, de-do-do, de-do-do-doodle do do do- doo do.

ROB SOURAILL: We knew we had a movie coming and we knew we had this vast catalogue of Muppets music...

GREENE: Rob Souraill is the vice president of marketing for Walt Disney Records, and he says the album has a few potential audiences: hard-core music consumers, nostalgic Muppet fans...

SOURAILL: And then, you know, hopefully we're going to introduce a younger generation who perhaps didn't grow up with The Muppets, like I did, and turn them on to an art form that is just incredible and has so much heart. And harkens back to a real craft and a skill that's been a bit forgotten.

(SOUNDBITE OF A THEME SONG, "THE MUPPET SHOW")

OK GO: (Singing) It's time to put on makeup. It's time to dress up right. It's time to raise the curtains on "The Muppet Show" tonight...

GREENE: That's the band OK Go doing their version of "The Muppet Show" theme. Singer Damian Kulash thinks The Muppets will always find an audience.

DAMIAN KULASH: How many things can you think of that are just unassailably cool? Is there anybody who dislikes the Muppets? I mean, they're hilarious and they're wise and they're warm and they're buffoons and they're amazing.

GREENE: The new film, "The Muppets" opens in November. "Muppets: The Green Album" is out now. And you can hear more songs from the album and see a video for OK Go's "The Muppet Show Theme" at NPRMusic.org.

GO: (Singing) It's called "The Muppet Show."

GREENE: And that's MORNING EDITION on NPR News. I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

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