The annual announcement of the Jazz Fest talent lineup echoes Christmas, but without its own carols.

Vampire Weekend photo
Vampire Weekend, by Alex John Beck

We look forward to the announcement of the talent lineup for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell with the same sort of eagerness that we wait for Christmas. Then it gets here, we eagerly see what we got, and find a pair of socks. A shirt. Things we need or can use, but they're not on par with the anticipation. Maybe nothing could be, but still ...

The big names that lead the press release include Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Christina Aguilera, Phish, Arcade Fire, Santana, Robin Thicke, The String Cheese Incident, Trey Songz, Vampire Weekend, Foster the People, Public Enemy, The Avett Brothers, Charlie Wilson, Alabama Shakes, John Fogerty, Chaka Khan, and Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters. Those shows will make a lot of people happy, but many of them come with yeah, but .... This will be the third time at Jazz Fest in less than a 10-year span for Springsteen and Robert Plant, and with Phish and String Cheese Incident, jam bands are making a comeback. Public Enemy is great, but the booking is distressigly late, as if time and nostalgia have effectively neutered them, and they're no longer public enemies. And does Foster the People have another song besides "Pumped Up Kicks"? 

Christina Aguilera will be the third judge on The Voice to play in the last few years. Is Blake Shelton playing in 2015?

It's good to see Rubén Blades, The Alabama Shakes and Vampire Weekend playing this year, and I'm excited by the Brazilian contingent. I look forward to seeing The Mavericks and Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires again, but didn't they just play last year? (yes) Didn't Bombino play two years ago? (yes)  It's a weird phenomenon to look at that much talent including a lot of artists that have excited me in years past and be slightly deflated anyway. 

Tickets and VIP packages are on sale now.

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