In my most recent post on music and books, I extolled Spoon and Okkervil River. An anonymous commenter axed me about the band The National. I have since purchased and repeatedly listened to their latest release "The Boxer" and have to say that it is really excellent.
The overall mood and voice of the singer reminds me of The Tindersticks (this is a very very good thing), though the lyrics are here are more coherent and cohesive than those of the 'Sticks. Some of the drum patterns and shambling percussion remind me of Broken Social Scene, but I would not say that The National was derivative of these groups.
"The Boxer" is consistently good throughout. The songs create a single overall mood, but also stand alone as good individually. It really struck a chord with me and with Mrs. Angus too. She hung out with me through the whole CD.
Highly recommended and my thanks to the commenter.
On the other side of the street, I cannot recommend "Marry Me" by St. Vincent (Annie Clark). Pitchfork liked it, she plays with Sufjan Stevens, she likes "Arrested Development" but its a no go. Too self-conscious and precious.
I'd recommend instead The Blow (Khaela Maricich). Its a little more rough around the edges, unpretentious and fun, especially "Poor Aim: Love Songs". Here is a cool Blow video.