Some of us are left a little dissatisfied and wanting more, not necessarily for them to reinvent themselves—although there are some who seem to want this, namely the most snobbish of music critics—but are probably looking for them to progress in some way.
Others just want their favorites to remain true to their formula for success, even if it means each album sounds pretty much the same as those that came before it.
I'm definitely closer to the former camp than the latter. I'm generally looking for something that distinguishes each album as its own entity, but if they're truly one of my favorite artists, my interest won't wane very quickly regardless.
The National doesn't do anything here they haven't done before, but the thing is, they do it better.
That statement is sure to be a bit controversial. I'm not trying to say this is their best album—I'd still probably award that honor to Boxer—but it delivers their best set of plaintive and contemplative songs to date, including the gut-wrenching "Pink Rabbits," an account of seeing an ex-lover that results in the protagonist realizing he's not as over her as he thought, and is perhaps my favorite song of the year of less than ten minutes.