The National are a fantastic band, but I don't think they've ever really gotten a fair shake here in Austin. I've seen them live here in Austin twice and both times they've played second banana to the other band they were touring with. Most notably was probably their Oct. 2005 show that included Clap Your Hands Say Yeah in the opening slot. This album is going to ensure that the next time their tour bus rolls through town, people will be there to see them and not the other acts. Boxer doesn't break any new ground for The National, but my god it's so good. Track 2, Mistaken For Strangers, is the big winner for me. Matt Berninger's lyrics and his knack for long winding verses that crash into each other are as strong as ever. "Surprise, surprise they wouldn’t wanna watch/ another uninnocent, elegant fall into the unmagnificent lives of adults" he sings on Mistaken, just a hint at the the highly literate lyrical content to come. Every strong point from their past albums is here, only it's tighter, thicker, fuller, basically just improved in every way. If The National of 2003 is The National v1.0, the band is now The National v1.5. There has been no radical redesign but everything is improved. The highs are higher and the previous lows have been thrown in the trash. Head to their Myspace page to hear a few songs from the new album.