EVER SINCE SISTER SEVEN moved from Dallas to Austin in 1991 and became one of Texas’ most consistently popular and hardest-touring bands, their curse has been that of every post-Dead “jam” band: great improvisational players don’t often fare well in sterile studios, and rubbery funk grooves rarely add up to solid recordings. After a pair of indie albums and a live souvenir, 1997’s This the Trip — the band’s debut for Arista — was a promising but uneven step toward a more song-oriented approach. The effort may have spawned a minor VH1 hit in “Know What You Mean,” but even onstage there was little to indicate the tightly written and radio-friendly high-gloss sheen of Wrestling Over Tiny Matters. It’s nothing more than a thirteen-track tribute to the power of the three-minute pop song, and that’s just fine. Practically every song hits the chorus running, and the ballads have genuine melodic bite. And for each moment of unabashed accessibility, there are also flashes of depth (“Loaded”) and witty introspection (“My Three Wishes”). All told, Sister Seven may finally be as good of a value at your local record store as they are at your local nightclub. by Andy Langer