By Brian Soergel In case you haven’t checked the smooth-jazz forums lately, the big topic of discussion for much of 2006 continues to be the proliferation of cover songs. Not just cover songs, mind you—cover albums. When asked by a reporter on TV recently if he’d soon write some original songs after four albums of standards and one of “rock classics,” Rod Stewart himself candidly admitted that he was lazy. It’s much easier to sing along to songs already written, he confessed. The same goes for instrumentals, of course. Michael Lington’s a nice guy and one hell of a sax player, but his own CD of cover songs comes at what is hopefully the flameout of an arc that has lasted way too long. Especially since Lington’s previous CD, Stay With Me, was his strongest yet and continued to show his songwriting maturity. Lington’s cover album of mostly ’70s tunes includes Leon Russell’s title tune and some well-worn classics where it’s not necessary to say who the artist is: “You’ve Got a Friend,” “Still Crazy After All These Years,” “It’s Too Late,” “She’s Always a Woman,” et al. Strings and an overall somnolent vibe make this a real snooze- fest. “Elevator music” is such a cliché for smooth jazz, but it’s frustratingly appropriate here.