You couldn't invent a band more conceptually busy than the Oakland, Calif., group Charming Hostess if you tried. The short version is that they're a sort of funk-folk band fronted by a close-harmony trio in the tradition of Eastern European women's choirs, with a repertoire drawn from pretty much every kind of folk music that's close to the American pop tradition: klezmer, European folk, African-American work songs, white gospel, you name it. Not to mention that the lyrics, when they're in English, are smart and elliptical, whether their sentiments are concrete ("I'm Not Hungry," dedicated to "those who died on Cosmo's altar") or abstract ("My body fragments are full of bread ... Thank God for the laws of physics").