Santa's bag is bursting with Christmas releases for , as artists put their distinctive spin on holiday songs old and new. Here are 13 ideas for your seasonal soundtrack, including a reverent single by one of Alabama's "American Idol" winners, a classy jazz album from Lincoln Center Remember the Jingle Dogs and Jingle Cats? If you chuckled over those critters, this album should make you bleat with happiness. It features samples of various goat sounds, arranged in crazy-quilt style to resemble nine holiday classics. The results are oddly cheerful -- especially on "Silent Night," "White Christmas" and "Joy to the World" -- and sometimes wildly dissonant.
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With the holidays in full-swing and Christmas just days away, it's time to put on some music to get into spirit. If country legend Kenny Rogers sticks to his guns, "Once Again it's Christmas" will be his sixth and final holiday album, and bittersweet nostalgia infuses all 11 tracks. The year-old crooner recently announced his retirement and farewell tour, so this mix of mostly classic carols with traditional arrangements is one fans will savor. His voice is a little softer and raspier than on his first Christmas album 34 years ago, but it fits with selections that make you want to curl up by the fire with a bourbon eggnog and the ones you love. Kylie Minogue's first Christmas album is a very mixed bag of big band arrangements, awkward duets, better-than-expected novelty originals and evergreens hardly suited to her vocal limits. Frank Sinatra is back for a shared "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" and his input really does sound recorded in the great beyond.
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Holiday music, when done incorrectly, can be unbearably cheesy. Schmaltzy tunes about mistletoe, red noses, and strolling mit-covered hand-in-hand through the snow release by the sled-load every single year. This makes it hard to willfully seek out new holiday releases, but, believe it or not, there are a number of albums from recent years that deserve a spin. Feliz Navidad!
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