True Blood: Music from the HBO Original Series, Vol. 3 picks up more or less where Volume 2 left off, gathering music featured in the show’s third and fourth seasons as well as some previews of songs used in season five. And, like the second volume, this collection sometimes feels more like a marketing opportunity than another way to capture the series’ mood. Jace Everett’s indelible theme song “Bad Things” makes a repeat appearance -- not a bad thing in and of itself, but considering how many songs are played on the show that don’t make it to these compilations, it’s a little disappointing. The songs recorded specifically for the show also aren’t quite up to the standard of the rest of the collection. The Karen Elson/Donovan duet “Season of the Witch” ties into season four’s focus on Bon Temps’ local coven, but it sounds more pretty than powerful, especially compared to Siouxsie & the Banshees’ “Spellbound,” which still sounds unnerving decades after it was recorded. Likewise, Neko Case and Nick Cave have campy fun with their version of the Zombies’ “She’s Not There,” but Case sounds far more affecting on “I Wish I Was the Moon,” which was on the show but didn’t make it to the album. However, there are still quite a few strong moments here, particularly Nick Lowe’s “Cold Grey Light of Dawn,” Gil Scott-Heron’s version of Robert Johnson’s “Me and the Devil” and PJ Harvey’s cover of the Violent Femmes’ “Hitting the Ground,” on which she sounds more like Patti Smith than ever. Massive Attack are their usual eerily elegant selves on “Paradise Circus,” while Slim Harpo’s “Te Ni Nee Ni Nu” recalls the earthy authenticity of the first True Blood soundtrack and Cary Ann Hearst’s “Hell’s Bells” is a feral standout from season three’s music that’s especially welcome. While True Blood: Music from the HBO Original Series, Vol. 3 doesn’t feel as hand-picked as the first volume of music from the show, there are enough bright spots that die-hard fangbangers can buy this without feeling too suckered.
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares