BOTH these albums were inspired by children, the first to raise funds for Save The Children, the second to accompany Lemony Snicket's books in a release timed to coincide with the 13th and final volume of the Unfortunate Event series.

Colours Are Brighter is curated by Mick Cooke of Belle And Sebastian, whose trademark whimsicality lends itself perfectly to The Monkeys Are Breaking Out The Zoo, animal noises and all.

Snow Patrol are at their mushiest on I Am An Astronaut, Four Tet and Princess Watermelon are the most playful on the hyperactive Go Go Ninja Dinosaur, and Jonathan Richman's idiot-savant guise makes for a poignant Our Dog Is Getting Older Now.

The actor in The Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon bursts through three hammy AA Milne ditties, while Kathryn Williams' enchanting lullaby Night Baking and the skiffle of Franz Ferdinand's cake-guzzling Jackie Jackson compete for the food prize.

The Kooks miss the point on The King And I, but surrealist survivors Half Man Half Biscuit's lurid David Wainwright's Feet has the playground spirit just right.

If Colours Are Brighter plays more to the child in the adult than to children, The Gothic Archies is a spooked adult record, a droll companion piece to Lemony Snicket's macabre tales that affirms once more the songwriting prowess of the Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt.

Compiled from the audio books of the children's series, Merritt's songs are delightfully gloomy yet humorous, his voice lugubrious, his arrangements pure Gothic bubblegum. "Unfortunate events" the stories may be, but this is a most fortunate collaboration.