After blossoming from a regional phenomenon into what's arguably the nation's best unsigned band, DeVotchKa reasserts itself as Denver's most exotic musical export with a sumptuous new full-length -- the third in a succession of delightful mind-blowers. Recorded and mixed by WaveLab veteran Craig Schumacher (Calexico, Giant Sand, Beth Orton), How It Ends trades galloping rhythms for a lump in the throat that doesn't let up from the opening strains of "You Love Me," when Nick Urata gradually realizes that, though broken hearts might mend, underneath the Mexican sky, a man stands alone. Said man picks up arms to defend his homeland -- a bone-dry sprawl of fading desert flowers ("The Enemy Guns") -- only to discover that being lovelorn in a time of war never wears off ("Twenty-six Temptations"). As the sadly cathartic title track unfolds, DeVotchKa achieves something unquantifiable -- not quite Laurie Anderson's "O, Superman," and not quite the Slavic circus packing up and leaving town forever. But it hits you in the gut, where things really count. It's no wonder Southern troubador Jim White refers to this band as "a revelation."

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