Live albums are a risky thing. They only take hours to record - but require months and years on the road, really, to get it right.

The Indigo Girls' new release is "1,200 Curfews." In band lingo, a curfew is the time a band needs to clear a venue after a performance. Think about it: 1,200 shows were performed, and many recorded and weeded through, in advance of this release.To the Indigo Girls' credit, this live set highlights the pair as they are most comfortable - playing good acoustic music.

Twenty-seven selections are compiled here. And though this live album is not a single continuous concert - there are fade gaps - it captures the Amy Ray and Emily Saliers' thoughtful, intricate folk-rock.

The collection, spanning the duo's career, opens on a progressive tone with "Joking" and works toward a backwoodsy conclusion with an unlisted cut, "Problem Child."

The songs include "Power of Two," "Least Complicated," a remake of Joni Mitchell's "River" and "Virginia Woolfe," mixed among staples such as "This Train Revisited," "Galileo," "Chickenman," an acoustic remake of Gladys Knight's "Midnight Train to Georgia" and "Language Or the Kiss."

Live and acoustic, the vocal harmonies and guitars sound fine. Each song sounds fresh and new - and we're talking about more than 141 minutes of music.

Ray and Saliers' rural Southern background rings through each song. And though not every track was recorded in a concert setting - Buffy Saint Marie's "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee" is actually a studio cut; "Back Together Again" was recorded in Ray's basement back in 1982; "Thin Line" was caught during a dressing-room jam in the Santa Monica Civic Center; and "Power of Two" was recorded on the air during a Global Satellite Network "Modern Rock Live" broadcast last year - the rare tracks are a treat for Indigo Girls' fans.

"1,200 Curfews" successfully captures the down-home essence of an Indigo Girls concert.

RATINGS: four stars (* * * * ), excellent; three stars (* * * ), good; two stars (* * ), fair; one star (* ), poor, with 1/2 representing a higher, intermediate grade.