Fortunately, though, calculated or not, Maybe This Christmas is an enjoyable collection of music that holds together far better than most compilations of its type. Although there may not be an obvious hit track, there are no complete duds, either (but if Ben Folds isn't careful, he's going to get awarded honorary Canadian citizenship for churning out "quirky" tunes such as "Bizarre Christmas Incident"), and rather than angsting everything up in a clichéd postmodern kind of way, the artists here play it mostly mellow; even Bright Eyes' Connor Oberst foregoes his usual little-retarded-boy-singing-show-tunes shtick and turns in a quite pleasant "Blue Christmas".
Maybe This Christmas may be that rarest of Christmas albums, taking its place with Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas as something that the whole family may be able to listen to without fighting, and, as odd as the notion of grandmas all over the country asking to borrow their hipster grandkid's Jimmy Eat World CD after hearing their pretty "12/23/95" might be, isn't bringing families together the reason for the season? Why would anyone be cynical about that?
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