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Various Artists


Not quite an album but more than an EP, this sampler is a Yuletide teaser for members of Atlantic’s alternative stable, as well as a tribute to the principle that at Christmastime no song is safe from interpretation, and no performer is safe from exposed emotion. Thrashmasters Bad Religion get behind a few bars of “Silent Night” with characteristic verve. Tori Amos quavers through “Little Drummer Boy.” Hootie and the Blowfish deliver a lounge-lizard-perfect “Christmas Song.” And so on down the eight-artist list, which also includes Daniel Johnston (who also contributed the cover art, which perfectly matches his adenoidal take on “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”), Victoria Williams, Collective Soul, Evan Dando, and Juliana Hatfield.