"In the Cold, Cold Night" stands out in the Stripes' catalog not only because of the unusual Meg White vocal, but also because of the spare accompaniment and unsettling, ambiguous sentiment — is it a come-on directed at a stalker, or an expression of a love that has to remain secret because it's socially unacceptable, and it sounds menacing because the singer is resentful? There's no shortage of covers, including an up-tempo, retro-electro version that English songstress Tracey Thorn put on her Christmas album last year. Wanda and Shooter's take is a little closer to the original's determined creepiness, replacing the slinky guitar with a piano and adding in some subtly industrial brass and percussion accents, spooky detuned vocal doubling and some sweet, fat organ licks.
The other 13 tracks cover the Stripes, The Raconteurs and White's solo work, with contributors spanning from early R&B and rockabilly pros like Gary U.S. Bonds and Johnny Powers to contemporary luminaries like Los Straitjackets and J.D. Wilkes and The Dirt Daubers. One especially eyebrow-raising contribution is R&B sax hero Big Jay McNeely and Hawkwind sax man Nik Turner performing "I'm Shakin'" as featured on Blunderbuss (side note: this is actually a Little Willie John cover itself; John also did the original "Fever," coincidentally a pretty strong influence on "Cold, Cold Night").