In 1997, on the heels of their astonishing breakthrough disc, IF YOU'RE FEELING SINISTER, Britain's pre-eminent indie-popsters Belle and Sebastian released three EPs, DOG ON WHEELS, LAZY LINE PAINTER JANE, and 3?6?9 SECONDS OF LIGHT. This excellent box set gathers all three, delivering each with its original artwork, which, for better or worse, means that there are no additional liner notes or photos outside of the box's slipcase. Despite this no-frills packaging, the release of these tracks is cause for celebration, since many are resplendent jewels among an already glittering discography. In keeping with B&S's work before and after, the dozen songs here have a kinship with the moody, impressionistic songs of Nick Drake, the Smiths, Donovan, Leonard Cohen, and the Velvet Underground -- an aching sullenness and a sweeping ear for detail, be it a piercing lyric, a vocal creak, or a delicate piano run. "Dog on Wheels" bristles with nervous energy, and the confessional "The State I Am In" boasts ace lyrics such as "And so I gave myself to God/There was a pregnant pause before he said okay." The organ-drenched vamp "Lazy Line Painter Jane" is the only collaboration B&S has ever done, a duet with Monica Queen, who has a Dusty Springfield-ish wail. The cooing "A Century of Fakers" and the garage-pop "Le Pastie de la Bourgeoisie" elevate the third EP high into the group's pantheon. This set is a must-have for fans of joyously tuneful, bitingly insightful baroque pop.