Over the past three years these local noise pirates have gone highfalutin the way self-educated art-school dropouts sometimes do–without cleaning up a bit. The three girls and three boys in the Coughs still dress like they crawled out of a Dumpster and explode onstage like a tin can filled with firecrackers, but on their latest release, a split seven-inch with Night Wounds on the Not Not Fun label, there’s a cool, muffled distance to what used to feel more like an everybody’s-invited crash-punk party. Instead of jumping all over you they seem to be hanging back, making you prove you get it. But I still dig it. At first the guitar, bass, drums, and metal percussion shudder in unison while the sax whines aimlessly, like a little kid throwing a temper tantrum out of habit, not because he really thinks he’ll get that BB gun. Then the repetition suddenly stops and everything sounds drop-tuned, sluggish, and aimless, like the same kid’s been banished to his room and fallen into a subterranean infantile depression. The song’s a pretty far cry from the Coughs’ usual gnarly wrath–I mean, it has actual identifiable parts. But given the band’s affinity for upheavals, aesthetic and otherwise–percussionist Jon Ziemba quit after this summer’s marathon tour, then got talked into rejoining two weeks later–I guess the change shouldn’t be that big a surprise. The Coughs headline, Lexie Mountain opens, and the Sand Cats–Rjyan Kidwell, aka Cex, with ex-Milemarker keyboardist Roby Newton–play second. Fri 2/10, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, $8.