The seventh album by gloomy Brooklyn dads, The National, is to my ears their best since “Boxer”. The National rock harder here on a few tracks than usual giving “Beast” an energy and urgency not quite there on their still very good last few prior releases. “Day I Die”, “Turtleneck” and “The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness” are the louder cuts and are all standouts in the band’s increasingly vast catalog. The album’s sonic variety allows mellower tracks like “Carin At The Liquor Store”, “Dark Side of The Gym” and “Guilty Party” to stand out more as well. It’s great to see a band over a decade in, well steeped in middle age not running short on ideas and still making some of the best music of their career.