Album: The National, Trouble Will Find Me (4AD)

The National's quiet, steady ascent presents the Cincinnati band with a problem on their sixth album: how to crown their rise without losing the ATP/Pitchfork crowd which nurtured them.

If you've ever heard a National record, you know what this sounds like: gentle guitar-pop augmented by cellos, pianos and sotto voce meditations on loss and longing. But the occasional off-kilter touch throws things sufficiently askew to deny listeners any complacency.