Bob Dylan, "Christmas in the Heart"

Album Review
4

Bob Dylan is so far into the creative renaissance that began with his 1997 album, "Time out of Mind," that even fans could forget his knack for taking unexpected left turns. But even by Dylan's standards, his new album "Christmas in the Heart" is an odd one-a collection of straight-ahead Christmas songs that benefits Feeding America, as well as food charities in other countries. But it will remind listeners that for nearly a decade Dylan has been working on his croon-exploring musical styles that are more polished than folk and blues. This set, which mixes holiday classics like "Here Comes Santa Claus" with lesser-known songs like "Christmas Island" and a raved-up, accordion-heavy take on "Must Be Santa," includes a breadth of styles that reminds one of Dylan's satellite radio show as much as his albums. And speaking of left turns, he sings part of "O Come All Ye Faithful" in Latin-and gets away with it.-Robert Levine