The Ventures’ Christmas Album, a holiday necessity rereleased on EMI in 1990, succeeds because the Ventures knew to shut up and play. The Blue Hawaiians haven’t quite grasped this concept; bassist Mark Fontana steps on Elvis’ toes in a drab attempt to croon “Blue Christmas,” and sounds awfully silly mouthing, “‘Mele Kalikimaka’ is Hawaii’s way/To say ‘Merry Christmas’ to you!” Yet the quartet’s instrumental contributions to Christmas on Big Island, if not particularly artful, complement any tiki decor. The Ventures themselves might appreciate the Hawaiians’ “We Four Kings (Little Drummer Boy),” which blends “We Three Kings” with a cover of the Pyramids’ ’60s surf hit “Penetration,” using a reverb-heavy “Drummer Boy” as a bridge. An energetic “Jungle Bells,” perhaps intended to inspire a conga line, melds the big-band drumbeat of “Sing Sing Sing” and a steel guitar mewling the familiar notes to “Jingle Bells.” “Have Yourself a Quiet Little Christmas,” with its coconut-shell percussion, woozy steel guitar, and vibraphone, exudes the sort of corniness suitable for a December luau. One suggestion: Shuffle the tracks so that the disc’s opener, “Christmas Time Is Here,” plays last. Its four melodic but soporific minutes of resonant guitar and gentle drum-whisks will send late-night limbo-ers sleepwalking out the front door.—Nathalie op de Beeck