Their last record was better, but this year's The Boxer earned the National their place as band of choice for the rueful, aging rocker set. Soaked in bourbon and melancholy, the songs on The Boxer are about avoidance: avoiding adulthood, avoiding isolation, avoiding the real world and its wars between nations and between lovers. With his distinctive, haunting baritone, singer Matt Berninger leads what's essentially an intellectual bar band that even your coworkers who shop at Pottery Barn would like. (Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave, 628-3151. 8 pm, $15 adv/$18 DOS, all ages.)

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