Cockle Warmer, Rufus Wainwright feat. Sharon Van Etten.

Crack open the mulled stuff – after the descent of Sufjan Stevens' "hysterically American" Christmas Unicorn last week, it now really feels as though that damned season to be jelly is truly imminent with this one. Of course it's still ages away – 73 days to be precise – but it's a-comin', along with the maudlin Coke ads, and the hideous commercialism the fantastical phenomenon/ "pagan heresy" brings. Ho ho ho, etc. This festive collab between Rufus Wainwright and dearest Sharon Van Etten, however, is just about the most delightful upshot of the approaching Yuletide; the record to put on while uncle Roofy pours us another port. A charming take on Frank Loesser's only loosely Christmassy Baby, It's Cold Outside, Wainwright and his warble assume a charm offensive that borders on the parodical, whilst Sharon's cigarette-indebted vocal deterrents smoulder like snowy ash beneath his concertedly violent invitations to keep within his warmth. More heartwarming than a cindery stake to the vital organ, it's a jazzy clump of subtle pizzazz that's as roaring a triumph as any aflame fireplace. Could quite happily keep cooped up indoors with this on an interminable repeat right through December 25th.

Baby, It's Cold Outside is taken from an alternative Christmas compilation, entitled Holidays Rule, which is also to feature contributions from the likes of Sir. Paul McCartney, Andrew Bird, Fiery Furnace Eleanor Friedberger, and Calexico.