Another Christmas, Another Bizarro Sufjan Stevens EP

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All he asks for in return is a hat that fits. Photo: Getty Images

Sufjan Stevens just released Astral Inter Planet Space Captain Infinity Voyage, his eighth annual Christmas EP, which, as always, he's giving away free. In keeping with the space-age feel of the title, most of the tracks are Switched-On Stevens versions of traditional carols, making heavy use of retro synth sounds to balance out the warmth of an occasional piano and Stevens's own hushed, intimate delivery. The two exceptions are new songs "Christmas in the Room," a touching snapshot of an aging couple who are all the decoration the other needs; and "The Child with the Star on His Head," a holiday fantasia that starts as a desultory blues number before blasting off halfway through the 13-minute running time with trumpet-playing aliens.

Download the EP: So This Is What the Volume Knob's For