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ROCK

Fountains of Wayne

Traffic and Weather
(Virgin)
Essential: "Yolanda Hayes"

We don’t know why it takes so long for Fountains of Wayne to make new records — typically three or four years — but we’ll suffer the breaks for the now typically terrific payoff. On its fourth album, the quartet continues to craft tracks that veer from silly to sublime, from power-pop guitar anthems to country rock with lyrical wit, musical panache, and equal measures of sincerity and irony. The delight is, as usual, in the tiny details and the twists of tongue: the ‘‘Virginia is for Lovers’’ T-shirts on sale at the rest-stop gift shop on the melancholy ‘‘I-95’’; two coots telling each other ‘‘jokes that they both know that they both know’’ in the restless ‘‘New Routine.’’ If ‘‘Traffic and Weather,’’ doesn’t as frequently pack the knock-out punch of 2003’s superb ‘‘Welcome Interstate Managers,’’ it still more than holds its own in the fight for pop music that is both catchy and canny. [Sarah Rodman] Fountains of Wayne plays at the Paradise Rock Club

Sunday.

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