Good Pop Interpreters

I know I often fall prey to the romance of signer/songwriter uniqueness and individuality, but there's also something deeply delightful and satisfying about a good cover song. It's like two artists having a conversation.

Who would you recommend as an artist or group who regularly "converses" with other artists and genres through cover songs?

I'll kick things off by nominating Ry Cooder who, especially in his early albums (which are dominated by cover songs), displays an inventive, loving, and oftentimes surprising choice of and approach to cover songs.
Early Joe Cocker
Early Rod Stewart

And lots of women:

Emmylou Harris
Linda Ronstadt
Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt (Western Wall)
Jennifer Warnes covering Leonard Cohen
Joan Baez covering Bob Dylan
Bonnie Raitt
Shawn Colvin
Judy Collins
Cassandra Wilson

And I can't leave out my favorite interpreter:

Frank Sinatra
BIGOD 20, an industrial band, did a fantastic remake of Modonna's "LIKE A PRAYER"

I think KMFDM made a remake of Modonnas "Material Girl" as well


probably not what yer looking for, but i thought they were funnier than hell!
Johnny Cash does some great covers as your already aware.

His American Recording albums and the Unearthed box set are chuck full of 'em.

Be nice to me and I'll send ya the box set for review.
The Australian band The Church (Best know "For Under The Milky Way"), their 1999 release of A Box of Birds. They've been very clever about their choices; only Mott the Hoople's "All the Young Dudes," Hawkwind's "Silver Machine" and Neil Young's "Cortez the Killer" are covered regularly by other bands. The remainder of the songs — ranging from the Beatles' "It's All too Much" and the Monkees' "The Porpoise Song" to Kevin Ayers' "Decadence," Television's "Friction," Ultravox's "Hiroshima Mon Amour" and Iggy Pop's "The Endless Sea" — aren't obvious choices, which give the record considerable character. The Church don't really reinvent these songs, choosing to remain faithful to the tenor of the original while retaining their own signature sound. The end result may not be revelatory, like the best covers albums, but it is fun, and the band sounds like they're having fun, too.

Thanks for the tip. That's exactly the kind of off the beaten track type item I was looking for. An lp that contains a cover or two is one thing, but an lp that's chuck full of interesting covers is another.
There'an album by Dennison Witmer called "Recovered" released last year or the year before. It's a compilation of really good covers of 70's pop (SoCal Jackson Browne, Fleetwood Mac - also Carole King, Neil Young and Big Star and others). Many are faithful reworkings, with much the same instrumentation (have that steel/slide guitar sound down) - but some are fairly drastic re-interpretations (esp. "So Far Away"). Most songs are lesser-known songs from the artists' catalogs (Simple Man, Songbird, Love In Mind, Nighttime, Farther On, Brass Buttons, So Far Away, It Makes No Difference, Suzanne, These Days). Vocally, he's pretty similar to Jackson Browne. Anyway - if you've not been permanently scarred by the '70s, it's pretty damned good stuff.