Weekly or monthly residency gigs in local venues are great for their reliability but can also sometimes suffer from predictability. Two cool new music series that are launching in St. Paul this month will challenge the participating musicians in new ways.

Two x Deux

What: A weekly or biweekly double pairing featuring two sets each with two musicians specially paired together, all hosted (and booked) by St. Paul singer/songwriter/guitar-wiz/ringleader Molly Maher. The shows are all-ages with an $8 cover.

When: 7-10 p.m. every Tuesday in January, every other Tuesday in February.

Where: Vieux Carré, 408 St. Peter St., downtown St. Paul, vieux-carre.com.

Who's playing: The kick-off show tonight (Jan. 8) will feature Cody McKinney with Richard Medek (bass and drums, respectively) and JT Bates with Bryan Nichols (drums and piano), plus Maher. Upcoming shows include Dusty Heart bandmates Barbara Jean and Molly Dean with Mike Lewis and Sarah Bischoff, respectively (Jan. 15); songwriters Diane Miller and Haley Rydell and then Sarah Morris with Ben Cook-Feltz (Jan. 22); Emily Kastru with Lisa Harrigan of Betazoid and Her Crooked Heart's Rachel Ries with Humbird's Siri Undlin (Jan. 29); Pieta Brown with JT Bates and then Brown again with Erik Koskinen (Feb. 12); and Jon Rodine with Dean Magraw plus Nick Salsbury with Dan Schwartz (Feb. 25).

NoVox Series

What: Singers, schmingers. This monthly gig will offer nothing but instrumental sets by rock, jazz, blues, experimental or whatever acts, all curated by the nonprofit Minnesota Music Coalition.

When: Second Thursday of each month, 6-8 p.m.

Where: Summit Brewery's new Ratskeller room, 910 Montreal Circle, St. Paul, summitbrewing.com.

Who's playing: Adam Levy of the Honeydogs and Sunshine Committee kicks off the series this Thursday (Jan. 10) with guest Barb Brynstad. Upcoming shows feature string duo the OK Factor for the lovers (Feb. 14), Celtic mainstay Laura MacKenzie for the pre-St. Patty's Day revelers (March 14), rootsy accordion maestro Dan "Daddy Squeeze" Newton (April 11) and bluesman John Sims (May 9).