Jar of Gems is a hodgepodge of new, old, and remixed material from Jars of Clay. Disc One features some highlights from the band's first three albums (including defining tracks like "Flood" and "Tea & Symphony"); it'll serve as a nice introduction for fans who found Jars only after the flurry of mainstream attention garnered by 1999's If I Left the Zoo. To that end, Jar of Gems' second disc -- subtitled "The White Elephant Sessions" -- includes a likable remix of the hit single "Unforgetful You." There are also alternate versions of "Grace" and "Can't Erase It," as well as a great, shimmering instrumental track. Best might be "New Math," which sounds like a long lost XTC song run through the bold, slightly sardonic harmonies of Crowded House. Jars of Clay aficionados should find enough interesting stuff on Disc Two to make Jar of Gems purchasable, but the collection is a must-have for any one just discovering the group and looking for a primer.
AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2