Tribute albums have pretty much run their course. After a decade-long deluge, things settled down this century until there was barely a trickle of those well-meaning but mostly yawn-inducing collections. Then something as strong as this 17-song album of songs by the Mississippi Sheiks comes along, and lo and behold all bets are off. Producer Steve Dawson has done that music of the early 1930s very proud, being smart enough to first find the artists who could bring real feeling to songs like “It’s Backfirin’ Now” and “Sitting on Top of the World,” and then have them pull of such exciting new renditions. Just about every track here passes the taste test admirably, and even better, we hear things we’ve never heard before. Starting with the North Mississippi Allstars, the album acts as a thrilling travelogue through a time and place that is long gone now, but still reverberates through the music of today. With so many different contributors, it’s amazing how there is so little overlap of sound or styles. Some, like the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Ndidi Onukwulu, Kelly Joe Phelps, Madeleine Peyroux and Jim Byrnes, are absolutely sublime in how they turn a sound from the distant past into something that can touch us so deeply today. It’s like a wonder of time, and one of music’s great gifts, how decades can be erased so quickly. But try listening to a song like “He Calls That Religion” or “The World Is Going Wrong” and not feel caught up in the original spirit, flying through the years and sensing what the Mississippi Sheiks created so long ago. It’s like it’s being reborn right before us now, a world apart but in the big picture of life right next door. Close your eyes and open your ears.