I've heard way too much about The National creating "grower" albums. If you can't hear great music from the start then...I really don't know what to say. From day one Alligator was a top album from last year, and I know Boxer will remain in the top ten of this year by the end. My two cents on an album that will be covered to death from now until Fall.
I've listened to the album from start to finish more than once and it succeeds on all accounts. I'm no way comparing them, but Arcade Fire's Neon Bible (which I never choose to talk about here, but which is another exciting album from this year, better than Funeral imo just so you know) is torn from the same sacramental cloth as Boxer. Orchestrated more beautifully than you realize and Berninger is remarkable as our troubadour on this journey within the shadowed walls and shallow canals of our genesis. Below is the keys to the Fake Empire.
.: Fake Empire