Neko Case/Giant Sand 

8 p.m. Wednesday, September 24. The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Boulevard.

You can forgive Neko Case for delaying the release of her next solo album, which is tentatively titled Middle Cyclone. After all, 2006's Fox Confessor Brings the Flood was such a towering monument to the singer-songwriter's considerable talents that a follow-up may seem like an impossible feat. Confessor cemented that Case was no longer just alt-country's pinup girl — it established her as an artist with a singular, if often grim, vision of American music. Her songs often function as fairy tales with nightmare endings or morality tales with no discernible moral — knotty, hand-hewn tunes that are lovely, dark and deep, often all at once. Cyclone isn't due until spring 2009, but in the meantime come hear Case test-drive new material, swoon as she tears through old favorites and watch her charm the audience with her off-the-cuff stage banter. Longtime Case associate Howe Gelb opens the show with his outfit Giant Sand.

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