Generally, it's probably not a good idea for an indie-rock band of any genre to cover classic American soul and R&B songs. It's bound, almost always, to not be as good as the original and come off trite, forced or just bad. Seriously, can you imagine Fleet Foxes covering Al Green? Or how about Best Coast doing a "I Put A Spell On You" cover?
Still, surprises do happen. After all, who would've known six years ago that Annie Clark of St. Vincent fame would be a TOTAL BADASS at playing covers from The Beatles to Big Black?
Insert: Australian psych-rockers Pond. The band recently released an excellent collection of loud, jammy guitar-driven tunes this year in the form of an album titled, Beard, Wives, Denim. Now, seemingly out of nowhere, the group decided to drop a cover of Smoky Robinson's "Tears of a Clown" on the world.
Mistake or excellent choice? Well, you will have to be the judge of that. It certainly rocks, though. And do remember, they are from Australia, so maybe covering classic American soul isn't such a risky idea down under.