Mavericks The Mavericks

The Mavericks were always an anomaly: a country/pop crossover success that still managed to retain a large degree of musical integrity. And while focusing on expanding their musical horizons over their last few albums cut deeply into that chart success, after a hiatus the band seems to be making a fresh start with this latest release. The band’s heart and soul remains singer/guitarist Raul Malo, whose Roy Orbison-like pipes are as strong as ever (especially on the string-drenched "In My Dreams”). There is also a lot of room reserved for his ongoing experiments with Cuban music, always the wild card in the Mavericks’ deck. While their success at this style depends on your views on Latin rhythms (personally, I can do without it), the Mavericks as a whole come off as slick studio craftsmen, presenting a sound that conjures images of Vegas artifice rather than Texas dust. Of course, this doesn’t mean that The Mavericks isn’t enjoyable, it is. But if you’re looking for true grit, this album isn’t the place to find it. (Sanctuary)