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The Decemberists 

These Portland, Ore., natives have slowly earned themselves a position near the top of the indie-pop mountain with three long-playing albums in as many years on the alternative stalwart label Kill Rock Stars. Their combination of cheerful piano, lush string arrangements and singer Colin Meloy's boyish tenor weaves a folky, melodic landscape with a powerful storytelling sensibility. Lyrics are dreamy, literate and firmly placed in a kind of Old World Europe fantasy that's echoed by their gorgeous Edward Gorey-like cover art. Their March release, Picaresque (Kill Rock Stars), is slightly more swashbuckling, with thumping drums on the Spanish galleon tale 'Infanta' and plenty of horns and tambourine on the downright sunny 'Sixteen Military Wives.' Their claim to the best vocabulary in rock 'n' roll is cemented by the rhyming of 'folderol' with 'chaparral' on 'Infanta.' Tickets $11 in advance, $13 at the door.

10 p.m. Wednesday, May 11 TwiRoPa, 1544 Tchoupitoulas St., 232-9503;

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