Having hit a sweet spot between cult acclaim and crossover success with their 2010 album, High Violet, the National return to the All Tomorrow's Parties festival as headliners, curators and conquering heroes.
Masters of darkly wry, emotionally nuanced songs of mood and metaphor, their status is evident from the quality of the alt-rock literati they've tempted along: this is one of the best line-ups ATP has had in a while.
The Antlers, Wild Beasts and Sharon van Etten give out goosebump studies of love and desire; Menomena, Deerhoof and Krautrock veteran Michael Rother number among those galvanised by a spirit of sonic adventure; Perfume Genius and Kurt Vile & the Violators summon small-hours moods; and neo-classical needs will be served by Owen Pallett, Richard Reed Parry and the Kronos Quartet.
Sad songs will undoubtedly be in abundance but this is a line-up – and, for the National, a comeback – to celebrate.
(atpfestival.com) Fri to 9 Dec