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It used to be high praise to call the Cowboy Junkies background music. On their first two albums (Whites Off Earth Now!! and The Trinity Session), they recast country and blues as the music of dream sequences; in the process, the Junkies (along with Galaxie 500) helped redefine what it meant for a guitar band to be mellow. Unfortunately, the ’90s saw the onset of the band’s slow decline, a process that’s culminated with its latest, Miles From Our Home. The once iconoclastic mood setters have abandoned their mission to find density in open spaces for a sound that in its better moments recalls late-period 10,000 Maniacs. The turn of events has left Margo Timmins’ vocals—once icy, moaning, and somehow far away—sounding like any number of dimestore divas’—proof that the Junkies have finally become a studio band as opposed to a studio-savvy one. With Over the Rhine at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $25. (202) 393-0930. (Brett Anderson)