We've already run through our annual accounting of the year's new holiday albums -- and, believe it or not, Justin Bieber's isn't horrible -- but since then some late offerings to the Christmas cache have come through.
Here's a look at the extras ...
In 2004, while his Smoking Popes were on hiatus, Chicagoan Josh Caterer's new band Duvall recorded a great pop-rock Christmas album, "O Holy Night." The Popes are a going concern again, but meanwhile Caterer returned to the North Pole and came back with a solo EP, "The Heart of Christmas."
Caterer played all the instruments for these five songs, mostly originals -- the title track, "The Baby From Bethlehem," "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," "Conroy the Gingerbread Boy" and "Austin Bound" -- in the same direct, melodious vein as both bands.
Caterer has assembled a band for a short tour, playing these and other songs from his many catalogs now. He'll be back home Dec. 14 for a show at Schubas.
-- The Polyphonic Spree has a stocking stuffer for fans. The rock choir recorded "It's Christmas" back in 2003, shelved it, and just now rediscovered it. The wild-eyed Tim DeLaughter and his son Oscar make an appearance in the typically grandiose video.
-- For six years now, the Killers have recorded an annual Christmas single as a fund-raiser for the (RED) AIDS-fighting charity. The video, filmed in the band's native Nevada, finds Brandon Flowers and pals striking their favorite "Bonanza" poses at "The Cowboy's Christmas Ball":
Those lyrics, by the way, are from an 1890 cowboy poem, "The Poet-Ranchman of Texas," by Larry Chittenden.
All six tracks are available on iTunes.
-- Country superstar Tim McGraw gets in on the act this year, gifting fans with "Christmas All Over the World," a lively track that name-checks numerous points around the globe where Christmas ekes out a celebration. The song is available as a free download.
McGraw will be on stage next summer with Kenny Chesney, July 7 at Soldier Field.
-- Attention good people who revere all music of the yule: Tune into Chicago's own shepherds of Christmas music, Andy Cirzan and John Soss from music promoters Jam Productions, spinning holiday tunes with history and heart as "The Christmas Club."
To wit, as they explain in a statement: "This year outside forces are once again conspiring against the true spirit of Christmas by stocking the store shelves with CDs by brand-name, mainstream singers looking to cash in with uninspiring, spurious renditions of the same old Christmas tunes. This is where we step in. We're inviting you to take a road trip with us as we explore the roots and blues of American holiday music. From our personal collections of holiday-themed record albums, 45rpm singles, CDs, tapes and (yes) downloads, we'll be spinning classic soul, R&B, country, jazz and gospel music, mostly from the 1940s thru the early 1970s, all of which bears the classic stamp of Christmas Americana."
Catch them both at 10 p.m.-midnight on WXRT-FM (93.1), streaming at wxrt.radio.com (sharing the studio with Jon Langford and Nicholas Tremulis for the weekly edition of "The Eclectic Company"), as well as 7-9 p.m. Dec. 22 on WDCB-FM (90.9), streaming at www.wdcb.org.
Cirzan will make his annual guest appearance on the "Sound Opinions" holiday music special at 8 p.m. Dec. 16 on WBEZ-FM (91.5), streaming at www.wbez.org/player.