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“Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album”
Sick of those “Glee” kids yet? Don’t answer yet! Let them present their peculiarly popular brand of glossy karaoke on holiday classics first, with the strangely titled “Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album,” because “Glee: The Christmas Album” just wasn’t descriptive enough.

CANDY CANES: A stomp-rap version of “Deck the Halls,” rechristened as “Deck the Rooftop” is amusing enough. Lea Michele’s pipes are put to the test on “O Holy Night” and succeed. The two-men duet of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is bland, but would give Sally Kern the shivers.

LUMPS OF COAL: k.d. lang helps make “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” lifeless. Everything else feels like Magic 104’s nonstop Christmas music is being fed to you via IV.

GIFT IT TO: Pre-teens and that one flamboyant uncle who never married and has no kids.

BUT NOT: Diabetics.

Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, “Crazy for Christmas”
Folk/bluegrass singer/songwriter Dan Hicks renders a mix of
well-known and original Yuletide tracks in his loosey-goosey lo-fi

CANDY CANES: You haven’t really heard “Carol of the Bells” until you’ve heard it turn into cowboy scat.

LUMPS OF COAL: Not quite as “Crazy” as it’s all made out to be.

GIFT IT TO: Greg Johnson at The Blue Door.

BUT NOT: Anyone who frequents Opolis or The Conservatory.

“Gift Wrapped Vol.
II: Snowed In”
Twenty-one chestnuts from the Warner
Bros. catalog get re-roasted for this compilation, including cuts from
Regina Spektor, Devo, Oasis and The Flaming Lips, who beat up “Little
Drummer Boy.”

Stardeath and White Dwarfs turn Wham!’s “White Christmas” into a
spooky, haunting wrist-slitter, while The Red Elephant delivers a
laid-back, ice-cool instrumental with “Brooklyn Sleigh Ride.”

LUMPS OF COAL: Who the hell invited adult-contemporary hack David Foster to this party?

GIFT IT TO: Your hipster nephew who thinks he’s too cool for Christmas. (He’s not.)

BUT NOT: Your grandfather who still doesn’t get “all this crazy rock ’n’ roll nonsense.” (And he never will.)

Jackie Evancho, “O Holy Night”
A soprano from “America’s Got Talent” follows up her debut
album with a holiday CD to make you feel even more like an
underachieving George Bailey. Because she’s 10 years old.

CANDY CANES: Damn, this girl can sing! You’ll swear she was three times her age.

LUMPS OF COAL: Only four songs? Child labor laws, maybe?

GIFT IT TO: Your grandmother and friends at church.

BUT NOT: Anyone legally bound to notify others upon moving in to a neighborhood.

Annie Lennox: “A Christmas Cornucopia”
The former Eurythmics singer possesses one of the most
unique voices in music, as evidenced on these dozen classics.

Lennox deserves points for tackling some relative obscurities
(“Il Est Né Le Divin Enfant,” anyone?), utilizing the African Children’s
Choir, and daring to use a whistle.

With every track nonsecular, the overall disc grows a little
sleepy. And, hey, why no “O Holy Night” on a faith-driven record?

GIFT IT TO: Your mom and infants with colic.

BUT NOT: Dave Stewart or members of the Church of the IV Crown Princes.

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