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Tori Amos 

Midwinter Graces (Universal Republic)

Amos approaches the holiday canon the same as every record she's made, including this year's Abnormally Attracted to Sin: with mixed emotions and mad bombast. Bookended by traditionals ("The First Noel," "Silent Night"), Midwinter Graces feels like a mid-career Amos album, To Venus and Back with bells: it's serviceable, with high points. Daughter Natashya pops up to trade promising choruses on "Holly, Ivy and Rose," "Pink and Glitter" is a nostalgic blast of horns and the string-laden "Our New Year" ranks with her catalogue's best songs. But these graces are for fans only.

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