Prog-phobic indie types put off by the Decemberists’ recent forays into the rock-operatic should check back in with these Portland geeks: On their new one, The King Is Dead, frontman Colin Meloy and his mates forgo concept in favor of songcraft, and the result is the band’s most tuneful (and enjoyable) effort in years. Peter Buck of R.E.M. and Gillian Welch joined the Decemberists in the studio, but for the world tour they’re launching with a three-night stand at the Beacon, they’ve drafted former Nickel Creek member Sara Watkins. Her presence never hurts. With Wye Oak.
Jan. 24-26, 8 p.m., 2011