Canadian singer/composer/harpist Loreena McKennitt
's lush Celtic-infused balladry and worldbeat sensibilities lend themselves well to holiday music, a genre she toyed with in 1995 on her Winter Garden: Five Songs for the Season
EP. 2008's Midwinter Night's Dream
takes those five songs (newly remastered) "Coventry Carol," "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen," "Good King Wenceslas," "Snow," and "Seeds of Love," and adds eight new songs (all of which were recorded at Peter Gabriel
's Real World recording studio) including "The Holly and the Ivy," "In the Bleak Midwinter," "Breton Carol," and "Emmanuel." The songs are immaculately produced as always, and McKennitt
's predilection for Eastern mysticism and unique instrumentation keeps them from falling into the usual seasonal clichés.