-- The National, "Trouble Will Find Me" (4AD)

The first word that comes to mind after listening to The National's new album is "restrained."

Six or seven listens later and the small nuances on "Trouble Will Find Me" work their way out of the mix, but that first impression of the group's sixth album still lingers.

The National was anything but restrained as it battled its way to the forefront of the indie rock movement with its last two albums. The quintet distinguished itself from a legion of mope rockers by unleashing two formidable beasts: frontman Matt Berninger and drummer Bryan Devendorf.

Berninger's majestic baritone and vivid lyrics and Devendorf's aggressive, time-shifting attack differentiated The National, providing a natural groove so rare among similar bands. With Berninger occasionally exploring new vocal approaches and Devendorf moved back in the mix, that groove is often forced to the side by airy atmospherics and sonic effects that are indeed beautiful, but often insubstantial.

There are several strong entries here regardless of quibbles, including the high-rev "Graceless" and the wistful "Fireproof," and Berninger remains among the sharpest of emotional interpreters, singing on "Pink Rabbits": "You said it would be painless/it wasn't that at all."

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  • The National - Mistaken For Strangers

    Music video by The National performing Mistaken For Strangers. © 2007 Beggars Banquet Records LTD

  • The National - Bloodbuzz Ohio

    Music video by The National performing Bloodbuzz Ohio. (c) 2010 4AD Ltd. The first video from the new album "High Violet". Purchase the album: highviolet.com Credits: directed by hope hall, andreas burgess & carin besser edited by andreas burgess & purcell carson produced by tom berninger & the national camera: hope hall assistant camera: matt livingston bartender: da pennebaker thank you to flatbush farm, milk bar and complete studios

  • The National on Letterman - July 24, 2007

    The National playing "Fake Empire" on Letterman. From July 24, 2007.

  • The National - Sorrow (Live Uncut)

    The National perform "Sorrow" Live at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on May 15, 2010. A VEVO event on YouTube. Directed by Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker, the proceeds from the event will benefit the Red Hot Organization www.redhot.org Official site for The National www.americanmary.com Official site for DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus www.phfilms.com

  • The National - Slow Show (Live Uncut)

    The National perform "Slow Show" Live at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on May 15, 2010. A VEVO event on YouTube. Directed by Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker, the proceeds from the event will benefit the Red Hot Organization www.redhot.org Official site for The National www.americanmary.com Official site for DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus www.phfilms.com

  • The National - England (Live Directors Cut)

    Director's Cut: The National perform "England" live at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on May 15, 2010. A VEVO event on YouTube. Directed by Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker, the proceeds from the event will benefit the Red Hot Organization www.redhot.org Official site for The National www.americanmary.com Official site for DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus www.phfilms.com

  • The National - Terrible Love (Alternate Version)

    The second video from High Violet - bit.ly Directed Tom Berninger www.4ad.com Buy High Violet from Amazon amzn.to Buy High Violet from Beggars: bit.ly

  • The National - Squalor Victoria (Live Uncut)

    The National perform "Squalor Victoria" Live at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on May 15, 2010. A VEVO event on YouTube. Directed by Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker, the proceeds from the event will benefit the Red Hot Organization www.redhot.org Official site for The National www.americanmary.com Official site for DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus www.phfilms.com

  • The National - A Skin, A Night - A Film by Vincent Moon

    Music video by The National performing A Skin, A Night - A Film by Vincent Moon. (C) 2008 Beggars Banquet Records LTD.

  • The National - Mr. November (Live Uncut)

    The National perform "Mr. November" Live at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on May 15, 2010. A VEVO event on YouTube. Directed by Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker, the proceeds from the event will benefit the Red Hot Organization www.redhot.org Official site for The National www.americanmary.com Official site for DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus www.phfilms.com

  • The National - Terrible Love (Live Uncut)

    The National perform "Terrible Love" Live at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on May 15, 2010. A VEVO event on YouTube. Directed by Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker, the proceeds from the event will benefit the Red Hot Organization www.redhot.org Official site for The National www.americanmary.com Official site for DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus www.phfilms.com

  • The National - Anyones Ghost (Live Directors Cut)

    Director's Cut: The National perform "Anyones Ghost" live at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on May 15, 2010. A VEVO event on YouTube. Directed by Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker, the proceeds from the event will benefit the Red Hot Organization www.redhot.org Official site for The National www.americanmary.com Official site for DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus www.phfilms.com

  • The National - Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks (Live Uncut)

    The National perform "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks" Live at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on May 15, 2010. A VEVO event on YouTube. Directed by Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker, the proceeds from the event will benefit the Red Hot Organization www.redhot.org Official site for The National www.americanmary.com Official site for DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus www.phfilms.com

  • The National - Lit Up

    Music video by The National performing Lit Up. © 2005 Beggars Banquet Records LTD

  • The National - Abel

    Music video by The National performing Abel. © 2005 Beggars Banquet Records LTD

  • The National - Apartment Story

    Music video by The National performing Apartment Story. © 2007 Beggars Banquet Records LTD

  • The National - Live from Brooklyn on 5/15 (Trailer) - A V...

    On May 15th at 8PM ET The National bring a live concert stream to fans worldwide. Directed by Chris Hegedus and DA Pennebaker, the proceeds from the event will benefit the Red Hot Organization www.redhot.org Official site for The National www.americanmary.com Official site for DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus www.phfilms.com