By David Browne
Updated March 11, 1994 at 05:00 AM EST

These underground heroes try hard to be obscure, from slightly out-of-tune guitars to hieroglyphic liner notes. Deep down, though, Pavement hardly reinvents the wheel; Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain is just a bunch of guys dwelling on topics like skateboarding, plane crashes, girls, and mocking Stone Temple Pilots. When they set those sentiments to bumpy-road drones or a bit of a country lilt — as they do on much of this, their third album — the result has a subtle, ingratiating beauty. B+