Given the consistent strength of The Mavericks' back catalog, compiling a single-disc "best-of" collection that gives an accurate picture of their music has been something of a challenge, so Gold has one key advantage over the other Mavericks anthologies MCA/Universal has released in the past -- with close to two-and-a-half hours of music spread over two CDs, Gold offers the Mavericks' story writ large, and there's no question their material merits the attention. Gold offers plenty of representative selections (seven each) from the band's four MCA studio albums, as well as cuts from the 1998 live set It's Now! It's Live!, a few single sides, compilation and soundtrack appearances, and import-only bonus tracks that receive stateside release for the first time on this set. While the rare material helps make this a near-definitive Mavericks set, it also means loyal fans will be buying a lot of songs they already own to get some worthy rarities, such as the surf-flavored Trampoline outtake "Panatella," and the groovy cover of "A World Without Love" from a German collection. But if you're only going to buy one Mavericks album in your lifetime, Gold is probably the one to get -- for a change, the band's unique blend of honky tonk swing ("There Goes My Heart"), rockabilly spunk ("Hey Good Lookin'"), Latin swagger ("Dance the Night Away"), countrypolitan shuffle ("Foolish Heart"), vintage pop smoothness ("Dream River"), and sophisticated modern country ("What a Crying Shame") is given the room to show off all its accents, and Raul Malo's vocals and songwriting are in stellar form throughout (while Robert Reynolds and Paul Deakin lend equally excellent support). The Mavericks were one of the best and most unique acts to scale the country charts in the '90s, and while the albums Trampoline, Music for All Occasions and What a Cryin' Shame are all well-worth owning, Gold does a splendid job of boiling their essence down into one fine collection, and it's a splendid overview of the band's first decade.