Snatches of Christmas carols make their way into these Amos-penned tunes of the moody winter season. Joy is in the ear of the beholder and Amos vacillates between open joy (“Harps of Gold”) and sublime winter mystery (“What Child, Nowell”) where she entwines traditional Christmas melodies with her own sophisticated soundscapes. This lush, orchestrated collection, centered with Amos at the piano, creates a warm, crackling fire with its deep twists of drama. “Snow Angel” beats forth with a weaving string section that resembles endless ocean waves. “Holly, Ivy and Rose” lingers between the foreboding stillness of the frozen air and the season’s festive joy. Midwinter Graces is not an album of seasonal cheer, but an album of seasonal mysticism that will appeal to Amos’ fans, who have been sent on many an adventure with recent studio albums. The gentle twinkle of “Jeanette, Isabella,” the nightclub swagger of “Pink and Glitter,” the solemn austerity of “Emmanuel” and the sneak peek into future hope with “Our New Year” are among the most straightforward and touching works Amos has constructed.