With producer Peter Collins employing a slew of studio professionals from bassist extraordinaire Sara Lee and drummer Jerry Marotta to guests Jackson Browne, David Crosby, Lisa Germano, and the Roches, Rites of Passage is not surprisingly a much more accomplished sounding recording than previous Indigo Girls releases. The duo hang onto their identity as grassroots coffeehouse folksingers while expanding their sonic vistas as they grow ever more comfortable with the potential of the recording studio. Even their cover of Dire Straits’ “Romeo And Juliet” comes across as a potential IG original. However, Amy Ray’s rougher edges are reigned in without losing fire and even given stronger rock backing (“Joking,” “Jonas & Ezekial,” “Chicken Man”) and Emily Saliers’ literate folkie tendencies are brought into modern focus. “Galileo” thrives with the additional rhythmic pump. Michael Kamen’s strings add a beautiful haunted effect to “Ghost.” Two live cuts are added to the expanded edition to remind listeners of their raw, impassioned roots.