I’d like to know how this project came together and how the artists were matched with their respective pieces. I picked up this album with mixed feelings and after a couple of listens those feelings remain mixed. I was glad to see that even the score elements of the original soundtrack were represented in this “revisitation”. A good thing too, considering most of the vocal tracks fail to bring anything new to the table. The tracks by Manson, Korn and Rise Against are servicable but uninspired attempts to appeal to the goth kiddies that have helped turn Nightmare into a merchandising empire. The All-American Rejects, Flyleaf, Polyphonic Spree, Sparklehorse and Plain White T’s all make slow, lifeless messes of their tracks (a real surprise from the usually hyper Spree). Yes, there’s a dark element to the work, but it sounds like people needed to worry less about their eyeliner and have more fun – the element that’s really missing from these tracks. Amy Lee is a pretty safe pick for Sally’s Song, but that doesn’t make the results any less gorgeous. And Shiny Toy Guns manage to turn the relatively minor Finale/Reprise into a mini epic with a genuinely creepy beginning, plaintive middle (Petree’s cry of “What is this?” is perfect) and a lush, romantic finish. Rodrigo y Gabriela turn Oogie Boogie’s song into a great, fast-paced guitar piece and that’s this album’s real strength – the instrumentals. Amiina and The Vitamin String Quartet take a more classical approach with great results. The Yoshida Brothers and Rjd2 have a lot of fun with Nabbed and Christmas Eve Montage, bringing a bit of dance and electronica to the mix. Datarock manage to make To The Rescue completely their own while honouring Elfman at the same time. Their take on the musical moment when Jack is revealed on Oogie’s slab is inspired and (here’s that word again) fun. The album comes to a beautiful close with The Album Leaf’s hypnotic exploration of the first part of the closing credits. The risks taken and the fun had by the artists tackling the instrumentals make this album worth picking up if you’re an Elfman or Nightmare fan. However, consider the cheesy cover art as fair warning for most of the remaining tracks.