The National performs with Ramona Falls on Wednesday, May 26, and Thursday, May 27, at the Fox Theater in Oakland. 8 p.m., $30 (advance tickets for Thursday sold out); www.anotherplanetent.com.
When it comes to nuanced gloom and prickly ennui, no one approaches the perfection of Matt Berninger. As the soul-plumbing baritone fronting the National, he bestows a late-night whiskey warmth to songs that are more about unlikely survival than abject failure. A new album, High Violet, at last finds the Brooklyn five-piece a global — almost mainstream — force after the slow, steady success of Alligator and Boxer. Like those releases, it takes time to sink in, although the bracing lead single "Bloodbuzz Ohio" connects immediately.