The title Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers can double as a description of the National's songs. Most numbers here take the fatalistic narrative outlook of songwriters such as Leonard Cohen, Scott Walker and Lloyd Cole and drop them into a lower pit of romantic purgatory -- a much lower pit. At the same time, tunes like "90 Mile Waterwall" and "Fashion Coat" are achingly pretty. Others, such as "Murder Me Rachael" show that members of the National listened to their fair share of British post-punk during the 1980s. This band proves that Americana and post-punk can work together surprisingly well.