The short version: Sometime after that song was released, I happened to wander into NYCD, the fabulous record emporium on Manhattan's Upper West Side that I lived a few blocks away from. The above song was playing on the store sound system at the time, and I had no idea what it was or who had done it and it flipped me fucking out. (I mean -- is that 12-string riff the coolest or what?)
Fortunately, friend of PowerPop and proprietor of the invaluable Burning Wood blog Sal Nunziato was behind the counter at the time, and was able to provide me with the track's backstory.
Bottom line: Thanks, Sal!