Even if you hated the Pixies for their moneygrubbing comeback tour last year, you gotta give 'em credit for jump-starting the Coctails' reunion. Their gig opening for the Pixies at the Aragon inspired them to speed up work on Popcorn Box (Carrot Top), a three-CD set that collects early tracks, vinyl-only rarities, and outtakes, documenting their transformation from faux-lounge act to quasi-jazz quartet to pop-rock band. Back together for the first time in years, the Coctails decided to book a brief tour of Japan--Tokyo pop-art company Presspop Gallery had contacted them with plans to create a set of action figures of the band (which has always been about the kitschy merch) and release a ten-inch EP, Let's Enjoy. Despite the renewed activity the group has no definite future plans: the former space-age bachelor pad denizens now have families, jobs, and other bands to play in. "It's more fun and special to just play together when we all feel like it," explains Mark Greenberg. He says they'll play a mix of material at this show, including songs from their 1990 debut, Hip Hip Hooray! (released on their own Hi-Ball label back when they still lived in Kansas City), through later Carrot Top albums like Long Sound (1993), Peel (1994), and their self-titled 1996 CD, as well as tracks from the new EP and seasonal tunes from their 1993 Winter Wonderland EP. Opening the show is Holiday Music--the Coctails' Barry Phipps, Charles Kim, members of Lesser Birds of Paradise, and others playing holiday music. Sun 12/18, 9 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $10 in advance, $12 at the door.