Various Artists


Album: An Instrumental Christmas — The 2007 Zunior Christmas Holiday Album



Release Date: Dec. 14

**** (out of five)

Local acts including Great Lake Swimmers, The Bicycles, Windom Earle and The Golden Seals get into the seasonal spirit with unconventional and successful instrumental takes on Christmas classics in this digital-only release. And you’ll find notable originals too (Check out Ben Gunning’s Bag Of Toys). At $8.88 per download, the entire proceeds of which go to Daily Bread Foodbank, it’s perfect for all you thrift-store-shopping indie poppers fed up with hearing Josh Groban’s Noel.

Lupe Fiasco

Album: The Cool

Label: Atlantic

Release Date: Dec. 18

**** (out of five)

With the conceptually driven The Cool, Chicago-born rapper Lupe Fiasco tackles everything from the state of rap to the widening spiral of selfishness and poverty.

The combination of clever wordplay and trip-hop-inspired beats make for an impressive narrative about the dangers associated with street life. Standout tracks include the rap ballad Paris Tokyo and Dumb It Down, a rock-driven diatribe poking fun at fellow MCs and record execs content with the homogenization of hip-hop.