Somebody forgot to deliver the usual dose of holiday cheer to the folks at Nettwerk before they embarked on this Christmas-themed CD. The noncommittal title tells the story: this might be Christmas, but it doesnít always sound like it. Thatís not to say the discís collection of mid-tempo pop-rock numbers arenít gorgeous and alluring, especially in the case of Ron Sexsmithís folksy title track. But most of Maybe This Christmas is as subdued as a hungover Santa Claus the morning after too many egg nogs. Coldplay fit out "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" with chilly production and skeletal piano, and Bright Eyes gives an unsteady, wobbly twang to "Blue Christmas." Jimmy Eat World bring some much needed warmth to "12/23/95," with its warm, chiming riffs. Loreena McKennittís "Snow" is a haunting, orchestral new-age hymn that could fit nicely into a midnight Mass.
Maybe This Christmas does have pockets of traditional holiday frivolity. On "Bizarre Christmas Incident," Ben Folds unfolds a string of seasonal yarns from behind his piano. Sarah McLachlan joins Barenaked Ladies for a playful romp through "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen"; Jack Johnson lends some upbeat street-corner shuffle to his rendition of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Not exactly your traditional take on traditional holiday fare, but a pleasant alternative to all the muzak you have to put up with this time of year.