Artist: Lady Antebellum
Title: On This Winter's Night
Label: Capitol

Nobody would've blame Lady Antebellum if they wanted to settle their voices for a long winter's nap.

Between incessant touring, recording and earning a veritable trophy case full of awards for their efforts, they've also managed to cram in newly wedded bliss into their schedule, and now, the requisite Christmas album, On This Winter's Night

While it's practically a tenant of the entertainment world to strike while the proverbial iron's hot, lest the masses forget you and move on to the "next big thing," On This Winter's Night is proof positive that taking your time between projects isn't necessarily a bad thing.

From the tried and true (read: boring) song selection (really, another rendition of Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You?") to the decidedly bland approach to such familiar material like "The First Noel," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and "Let it Snow, Let It Snow, Let it Snow," everything about On This Winter's Night feels a little phoned in.

Like the generic holiday soundtracks playing while you shop for gifts at your local mall, almost everything about On This Winter's Night is so bland that it's easy to ignore altogether.

For whatever reason, there's a sheer lack of holiday magic present in the production—that unquantifiable quality that separates the so-so efforts from the ones that Christmas just isn't Christmas without hearing.

Worse yet, there's an inherent joylessness in the vocal performances from Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood. Sure, they hit all the right notes per usual, but there's little passion in the process, which leaves the listener with nothing more than a feeling of "Bah Humbug."

More than anything, taking a few risks would've helped immensely. If you're going to compete with a band like U2 on "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," you better bring something new to the proceedings. But for whatever reason, Lady A totally plays it straight, and the listener ends up suffering for it.

When your vocalists have as much natural chemistry as these three do, a stunning, timeless Christmas album seems like a no-brainer. But other than a superb performance of "Silent Night," the rest of the album lacks personality. In fact, the one attempt at straying from the norm on "Blue Christmas" is shockingly bad.

Plus, for fans who already have the group's Target exclusive EP from 2010, A Merry Little Christmas, On This Winter's Night is very short on new material. Basically, there's six new tracks, which are uninspired covers of old tracks, not exactly the sort of stocking stuffer that leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy. 

*This Review First Published 10/30/2012