The words "Calexico, California," bring to mind a tawdry, lawless border town, but in reality Calexico is a sleepy burg set just close enough to Mexicali to witness that real-life rough-and-tumble town's zesty existence without having to live it. On the other hand, the Tucson, Arizona-based duo Calexico, which features John Convertino (of the pioneering Americana act Giant Sand) and Joey Burns (formerly of OP8), boasts a well-seasoned past. Beneath the soft veneer created by its disarming melodies and sparse chords lies a gritty group with plenty of dark secrets to tell. The group's first release, Spoke, revealed its kind, sensitive side, whereas its next full-length, The Black Light, proved Calexico could excel even when sounding jagged and haggard. Its acclaimed 2000 disc, The Hot Rail -- as well as its recent follow-up EP, Even My Sure Things Fall Through -- conveys the best of both worlds, like any good border town tempting tourists with American vices and Mexican prices.