The general consensus when it comes to The National one of the most consistent bands going today, tracing a steady upward arc from their patchy self-titled debut to their breakthrough album, High Violet. Plenty of people were falling over themselves to praise that album upon release three years ago, and since then, they've waited, with varying degrees of patience, to see what the band would produce next. Trouble Will Find Me is the sound of The National settling into themselves. This is not the same as settling down and aiming for the same heights High Violet reached; their brush with fame has caused them to change course somewhat, but it has also inspired them to make an album that may well just be their best since Boxer. That was six years ago, and things have moved incredibly fast since then, but do you think Matt Berninger's lightened up? Of course he hasn't. The sort of melancholy The National specialise in has been taken to new depths - a key line in opener 'I Should Live in Salt' is, "Learn to appreciate the void," and lead single 'Demons' is as dark as one might expect, one of the songs on the album in which Berninger looks at life from the perspective of a man going through a crushing break-up: "I sincerely tried to love her / Wish that I could rise above her, but I stay down with my demons."

That song was maybe a little safe for a lead single, but it works much better in album context. So too does 'Don't Swallow the Cap', leading into the album's first particularly delicate song, 'Fireproof', in which the focus is placed on an intricate guitar line, and Berninger faces up to some hard truths: "You tell me I'm waiting to find someone who isn't so hopeless - there's no-one." The defeatist tone is new, even for Berninger - there always used to be hope mixed in with the downbeat lyrics he's become known for. In contrast to this, their arrangements have become even more beautiful, and the waltzing 'Heavenfaced' could be seen as almost uplifting in places, certainly on a musical level. This is where the album starts to hit its stride and throw out a number of surprises; in particular, the Sharon van Etten-featuring orchestral coda to 'This is the Last Time' comes out of nowhere, and sets up 'Graceless' with a flourish; the latter is one of the best songs in the band's catalogue so far. Its sound has been pared down somewhat to fit in with the rest of the album, but it still carries serious heft, and contains a number of classic lines too: "There's a science to walking through windows without you."

The 'you' could be almost anyone, but whoever it is, they've had a serious emotional impact on the protagonists in these 13 songs. Is Berninger writing from a personal perspective at times? Who's to say? It certainly wouldn't change the fact that there are plenty of moments here with emotional weight. "I'd be a friend, or a father, or anything, but I'll never be anything you ever want me to be," he sighs on the piano-led 'Slipped', and there are images of people losing their shit and driving cars into gardens on 'I Need My Girl', as well as standing in the street and trying not to crack up on penultimate track 'Pink Rabbits'. It's certainly not the most cheerful of listens - it's more reserved and contemplative than any of their other albums, both in a musical and lyrical sense, but it's a style which suits them down to the ground. At the same time, there is a fullness to the album's sound and a clarity of production which its predecessor lacked; closer 'Hard to Find' is a case in point. There are enough nuances to tempt the listener back for another spin, but the subtlety and brooding nature of Trouble Will Find Me are its two strongest assets. It definitely sounds like an album by the National, but their latest set of songs is impeccably presented and delivered with the confidence of a band at their peak; a band who have figured themselves out. What more could you possibly ask for?