Toronto's Ron Sexsmith has such an unassuming way with a melodic hook that it's easy to take his sublime craftsmanship for granted. Though at this point (he's in his early 40s) it seems unlikely he'll ever become a big marquee name, he's one of the strongest pop songwriters of the past decade. Time Being (released in the U.S. by Ironworks, a label owned by Kiefer Sutherland and Jude Cole) reunites him with producer Mitchell Froom, who oversaw three of his finest earlier albums, and on it Sexsmith stays true to form: he's an eternal romantic, and sees love as the one thing that can break through the misery and pain of everyday life. "Jazz at the Bookstore," about how the hot-blooded music of years past gets repurposed as aural wallpaper for yuppie coffee boutiques, is about as far as he strays from that territory into anything like social commentary. But Sexsmith's lyrics are secondary to his gentle but indelible melodies--he's like a less nasal, less verbose, less spiteful Elvis Costello. Kim Taylor opens. a 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $18, $15 in advance.