I can understand Robert Johnson or Led Zeppelin making a deal with the devil, but...Buffalo Tom? Still, how else to explain the reappearance of the trio, who emerge after a nine-year absence sounding not a day older? (Those in doubt of the Faustian bargain are directed to last summer's "September Shirt" performance on Letterman.) After a strong run in the '90s with hits like "Birdbrain," "Sodajerk," and "Taillights Fade" splashed all over MTV and alt-rock radio stations, the band went on hiatus, weary of label pressure to sound like the Next Big Thing. They reconvened last year to record the stellar Three Easy Pieces. Many tunes on the disc pack the punch of flannel-era BT, but others, like "You'll Never Catch Him," showcase the band's maturity and are tinged more with wise melancholy than with rage. The disc is as strong as anything from their earlier canon, and the band is even better live—so don't wait another decade to see them. With Western Fifth and Ada Jane. 18+.
Fri., Feb. 1, 8 p.m., 2008