November 10 street date. Bright Eyes' "A Christmas Album" begins with a piano, flute, ambient noise, and musical saw-driven version of "Away In A Manger", helping weed out casual Christmas music enjoyers, but all too tempting for the most devout of Conor Oberst's disciples, who originally learned that the warmth of the holiday season is trumped only by its potential for melancholy back in 2002 with the original Saddle Creek release. Oberst and a small army of friends at his house proceed to jamboree through Christmas classics like "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas", "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", and "Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem". Holiday cheer, when delivered with Oberst's trademark tremble, sounds more like a lament than it does hymns of ecclesiastical joy. But the spirited listener will find that the fragile, homespun, and somewhat blinkered vibe that permeates the album sets itself apart from the bog-standard, less sonically humble offerings of the holidays, and, both strangely and satisfyingly, is probably more aligned with the true spirit of the season.