It's that time of year again; the next couple of weeks will see the beginning of a veritable deluge of end-of-year lists, which seem to be becoming less of a genuine channel through which writers can share the records they enjoyed the most and more a bizarre competitive sport wherein participants strive to prove that it is they, in fact, that possess the most diverse and exciting taste in music of anybody, anywhere. This is, of course, a source of genuine puzzlement to anybody who applies even a modicum of logic to the situation, because these lists, of course, can only ever be of a writer's favourite albums; the word best is woefully ill-suited to such matters of opinion.

Whatever the value of end-of-year lists - and, as always, you'll be seeing almost as many opinion pieces on the subject over the next few weeks - one of their more interesting functions is to remind you of records that were released, in relative terms, a while back now. Any record released in January that's sneaking in there is always bound to look that little bit more impressive; it's still on the writer's mind, all these months later. That's certainly the case with Yo La Tengo's terrific Fade, which I've already spotted on a host of rundowns.

The original - the New Jersey trio's thirteenth studio effort - dropped in mid-January of this year and has already been the subject of an 8/10 review on this very site, which frankly was the least it deserved. They haven't ever really made a bad record, truth be told, but this was their finest for some years - and their shortest since Fakebook back in 1990. Fade eschewed the unpredictable guitar freakouts and stylistic diversity that the band have so often displayed in the past, opting instead for a tight-knit, ten-song breeze through some gorgeously melodic, enticingly hazy soundscapes.

As much as I loved the original record, though, it's impossible not to be cynical about any reissue - or deluxe edition, if you listen to the label - that appears in the same decade as the initial release, let alone the same calendar year. This new version of Fade comes with a second disc and fifteen tracks, though, so there's a little more bang for your buck than with is typical in these situations, which normally see a couple of offcuts tacked onto the end of the original disc.

There's a pleasing mix of material here; unreleased efforts from the Fade sessions, live versions of tracks that did make the cut and a couple of demos and covers, too. 'Ohm', the standout from the original album, appears twice here in live form; it was the only song to be aired in both of the band's sets on tour this year, when they opened for themselves with an acoustic performance. Both are nice additions, but the stripped-back version can't really compete with its electric counterpart; it lacks the genuine thrill as an understated opening explodes into a cascade of guitars midway through.

Of the outtakes, both 'Note to Self' and 'Super Kiwi' are nice touches, but both would've been jarringly out of place on the original LP; the former's a downbeat instrumental and the latter a noisy, reverb-drenched effort with just a hint of psych to it. The cover of Times New Viking's 'Move to California' is beautifully understated, although their forgettable take on The Beach Boys' 'A Day in the Life of a Tree' won't rank too highly amongst their vast catalogue of recordings of other people's songs.

Fade instrumentals ('Cornelia and Jane', 'Stupid Things') and demos ('Two Trains') fall predictably into fans-only territory, and to describe the hugely minimalist, eleven-minute 'Oriole 5' as self-indulgent would be the understatement of the century. Elsewhere, 'I Saw the Light' leaves little doubt as to why it was axed from the final album, whilst the decidedly rockabilly '14__' closes this bonus disc in incongruous fashion.

If you're a Yo La Tengo completist - and I'm sure there's some out there - Fade [Deluxe Edition] is certainly worth a look. It's hard, though, to recommend it too highly to anybody else, even if, like me, you adored January's original release. Maybe grab the live versions of 'Ohm' from iTunes, or better yet, catch one of their shows before the year's out; they remain one of the most inventive, engaging live bands on the circuit.