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The Mars Volta, led by vocalist Cedric Bixler and guitarist Omar Rodriguez, formerly of the El Paso-based postpunk band At the Drive-In, forfeited much of their considerable mystique when they finally released their first album, “Deloused in the Comatorium,” last summer. Until then, their reputation was based on concerts that had critics comparing them to everyone from King Crimson to Fela Kuti.

The album was, perhaps inevitably, a letdown, since Mars Volta’s manic progressive rock can sound pretentious on record. It was difficult to see what all the buzz was about, but then a letdown implies expectations that aren’t met, and if anything characterizes the career of Bixler and Rodriguez it’s their refusal to fit anyone’s preconceptions.

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