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Absent from most discussions of Pavement’s (once indiewide, now niche) supremacy is just how well the band plays. Not that the quintet’s latest Matador long-player will necessarily change this. Brighten the Corners offers dazed wordplay galore, with such prolix tracks as “Embassy Row” (“The converted castle of moorish design/If you want to stay the weekend, well, we wouldn’t mind”) extending invitations to lose oneself amid pleasurable ornament. But as fans of the band’s increasingly willful live show can attest, Pavement can pull off just about any sort of performance it chooses. In ’92, the band attained the sort of ramshackle greatness that can only be accidental. Two years later, it was expertly manipulating the pit at WUST, cresting anthemic for a couple of bars, then cutting the crowd off midmosh. A couple of days later, the Pavers played a straight-ahead no-foolin’ set for an adulatory Roseland crowd. Then came ’95’s Lollapalooza debacle: Just as the band started pitching woo to the muse, rowdy Cypress Hill fans started pitching muck. (Did splattering Spiral Stairs’ ass with mud get the giant inflatable Buddha onstage one instant sooner?) I’d say D.C. owes the band an apology, which we’ll be able to offer after Silkworm, whose new Developer finds the trio at last discovering the space that is the boon of no longer being a quartet, and Shudder to Think, whose 50,000 B.C. streamlines the band’s extravagant embrace of artifice (it may not be exactly to your taste, but I wouldn’t miss it live). At 7:30 p.m. at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. $15. (202) 393-0930. (Glenn Dixon)