Their politically-themed songs tend to have a liberal leaning, which poke fun at conservative politicians (The Ballad of Ronald Reagan, Gingrich the Newt) or satirize current political issues (Go Ahead and Die). All the groups members contribute to songwriting, but the two principal songwriters have been Card and Deisler. Cards lyrics often rely on clever word plays, double entendres, and off-beat but sometimes poignant narratives about ordinary life. His most frequent subject matter is love, especially comically forlorn yearning. (The Dogs, they Really Miss You). Deislers lyrics, in contrast, focus on the existentially absurd, often combining absurdly unexpected pairings (such as making Richard Petty the subject of a surreal Luis Buñuel film) as well as pitiable, sometimes lovable characters bewilderingly unaware of their own absurdity and oddness (Wendell the Uncola Man). The band often pokes fun at country music clichés, for example the "we were happier when we were poor" trope exaggerated into absurdity in "Love in a Refrigerator Box". Deisler's lyrics also marry comedy with a remarkably dark vision of humanity and its future (Bonfire of the Inanities).
- Creatures From The Black Saloon (1984)
- The Highway Cafe of the Damned (1988)
- Lizard Vision (1991)
- Paint Me On Velvet (1993)
- Small Minds (1995)
- Live Bait (1996)
- Employee Of The Month (1998)
- Never an Adult Moment (2000)
- Strange Noises In The Dark (2004)
- The Drugs I Need (2006)
- Home And Deranged (2013)
This band may exhibit the following tropes:
- Affectionate Parody: Mostly of country music cliches, but they also poke fun at The Beach Boys in "Hey Little Minivan," mariachi music in "Buenos Dias, Budweiser," among others.
- Bilingual Bonus: Knowing Spanish makes "Buenos Dias, Budweiser" much more funny.
- Blah Blah Blah: "Old Blevins", in which the song's narrator meets the eponymous individual in a bar, who seems to have some deep and abiding wisdom he's desperate to share:"And this is what Old Blevins said to me:
He said "Blah blah bla-blah blah blah blah blah
In Tijuana, blah blah blah, back in 1963..."
- Cardboard Box Home: This is parodied in the song "Love In a Refrigerator Box".
- The Catfish: "Boudreaux Was a Nutcase." This one's a large-mouthed bass, named Moby Jack.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: A number of the songs center around rather odd and offbeat people.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: In "'Go Ahead And Die," a health insurance CEO is portrayed as a stereotypical pirate.
- Cover Version: They started out doing mostly these, but moved on to original work later. Notable examples include Brain Damage and C-U-B-A.
- Dogged Nice Guy: The theme of "Just a Friend".
- Everything Is Better With Monkeys: "Monkey On My Back".
- Everything Is Big in Texas: "Another Stupid Texas Song" mocks this mercilessly.
- Evil, Inc.: A common theme, examples include Visa, Mastercard, and Exxon-Mobil.
- Filk Song: Many, such as "Leonard Cohen's Day Job".
- Grief Song: Parodied in "The Dogs, They Really Miss You."
- Holier Than Thou: Parodied in "Jesus Loves Me, But He Can't Stand You."
- Mundane Made Awesome: Hey, little minivan, we're going to the grocery store!
- Ode to Intoxication: "Buenos Dias, Budweiser" and "A Case of Coors Beer." "When Drunks Go Bad" as well, after a fashion (though its really more an anti-Ode to Sobriety).
- Old Windbag: "Old Blevins"
- Rambling Old Man Monologue: "Old Blevins"
- Rock and Roll Lawyer
- Side-Effects Include...: "The Drugs I Need". The music video provides the picture for the trope page.
- Strawman Political: Frequently done for laughs, particularly in "The Ballad of Ronald Reagan" and "Gingrich the Newt."
- Stepford Consumer: Parodied in the music video for "The Drugs I Need".
- Take That!: Though they've been doing these since the beginning, it's been turned up in "The Drugs I Need."
- Title Drop: "Strange Noises In The Dark" and "The Drugs I Need".