In her previous incarnation, Neko Case sang broken-hearted country with the power and intensity of Patsy Cline. Case played drums for the all-girl punk trio Maow in the '80s, but left because she wasn't hearing any women's voices in punk at that time. Case persuaded her label to let her do a solo country record, and 1997's The Virginian
had critics thinking they'd found Nashville's newest cowgirl ('98's Furnace Room Lullaby
was more of the same, heart-breaking country). But Case asserts that Music City holds no interest for her at all, "I just like to play country music." The fiercely independent Case refused to be pigeonholed, and has reinvented her sound once again as a power pop princess in The New Pornographers
(pictured above). The Canadian group is a mix of '60's Beach Boys pop with T Rex crunch, the Cars jangle and a touch of Blondie. 967-9053 for information. $10.