Regina Spektor’s career got off the ground a few years ago when she was invited to open for the Strokes in the U.S. and Europe during their Room on Fire tour. But Spektor’s managed to do something her former tourmates couldn’t: release a second record that’s a marked progression from her first. On 2003’s Soviet Kitsch she sounded a little awestruck and childlike, a young singer struggling to wrap her hands around the world, and her voice contrasted beautifully with the booming maturity of her baroque piano-and-strings arrangements. But with her forthcoming album, Begin to Hope (Sire), she’s shaken off a bit of that precious, precocious air and plows ahead with confidence. Rather than let her influences and peers–Joni, Chan, Tori, and Fiona–ride shotgun, she’s stuffed them in the trunk. She seems totally self-aware and comfortable on “Field Below,” pulling off a bluesy ballad without a touch of torch. And on the dramatic kiss-off number “Apres Moi” she slips from English to French to her native Russian amidst bells and tense Gypsy rhythmic flourishes, whispering, like a sweet threat, “After me, the flood.” Only Son opens. Wed 4/21, 8 PM, Martyrs’, 3855 N. Lincoln, 773-404-9494 or 800-594-8499, sold out.