The National are masters of a baroque and somber indie-rock subgenre — call it Hopeless Majestic — defined by dirgelike guitars and elegiac imagery. Their fifth album High Violet is slow to blossom; its sumptuous layers and stately pace can feel almost funereal, and frontman Matt Berninger often sounds badly in need of Paxil. But Violet eventually burrows in, and stays. B+
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