No Texas honky-tonker could slip more easily into saloon singing than Delbert McClinton does on Prick of the Litter (out January 27 on Thirty Tigers). With arrangements built more on jazzy keyboards and saxophones than the usual guitar sting, the album (despite its title) features McClinton in a comparatively mellow musical mood. The biggest surprise is the sweet falsetto he reveals on “Middle of Nowhere,” one of the album’s languid mid-tempo ballads. Yet, on the whole, the difference here is more a matter of degree than a whole different kind of album for Delbert. Guitarist Jimmie Vaughan and his frequent vocalist Lou Ann Barton add plenty of bite to “Don’t Do It,” which would be a highlight on pretty much any album McClinton has released. The wistful “Like Lovin’ Used to Be” shows the reflective vocalist in his musical maturity, but “Neva” suggests he has lost none of his funk. The album is pretty much an in-house affair, produced by McClinton and bandmates Bob Britt (guitar) and Kevin McKendree (piano), with most of the material credited to Delbert, the band and collaborators (including Glen Clark). An outside producer might have dismissed a couple of lesser cuts (“Bad Haircut,” “Jones for You”) as borderline novelty fare, but it’s plain from the sessions that all are enjoying themselves rather than trying to impress anybody. Like Lyle Lovett, Delbert recognizes that what others might categorize separately as jazz, blues, country and R&B all come together under the big umbrella of Texas music.