The last time Dave Alvin recorded a covers album, Public Domain, it won him a long-overdue Grammy for best traditional folk album. So, six years later, he's at it again. But on West Of The West, the fourth-generation California twanger is sticking with songs written by his own peeps, namely Merle Haggard (Kern River), Kate Wolf (Here In California), Tom Waits (Blind Love), Jerry Garcia (Loser), David Hidalgo (Down On The Riverbed) and others. With the exception of the doo-wop version of Brian Wilson's Surfer Girl, Alvin's interpretations are straightforward and safe, like his song choices. It would've been great to hear him take a half-step outside his comfort zone and rework say, Beck's Heartland Feeling or Pavement's Range Life.