New York indie rock act the National has set a May 22 release for its second Beggars Banquet album, "Boxer." The set is the follow-up to 2005's critically acclaimed "Alligator."

New York indie rock act the National has set a May 22 release for its second Beggars Banquet album, "Boxer." The set is the follow-up to 2005's critically acclaimed "Alligator."

"I am really excited about the arrangements and the ways in which this album is different than what we have done before," multi-instrumentalist Aaron Dessner tells Billboard.com. "It always takes us a while to uncover the songs and discover the right mood and tone for things, but in the end it all came together quite naturally."

"Boxer" features a guest turn by Sufjan Stevens, who plays piano on "Racing Like a Pro" and "Ada." Padma Newsome helped arrange trumpet, flute, clarinet and strings, while Doveman's Thomas Barlett chipped in on keyboards and Marla Hansen sang backup on a number of tunes.

"I don't really have favorites, but there is one song where I beat the crap out of my guitar behind the bridge, and at the moment I find the violence of this playing to be very cathartic," Dessner says.

The National will embark on a North American tour in June, to be followed by European festival appearances in July and August. Dessner says a U.K. and European tour is taking shape for the fall and is also hoping to "get to some of the further afield places we haven't been to yet, like Japan and Australia."

Beforehand, however, the group will play one-off gigs in late May in London, Paris and Berlin, as well as a May 28-31 stand at New York's Bowery Ballroom. Support for the latter will come from the Broken West, Doveman, My Brightest Diamond and Elysian Fields.

"The choice was between doing two shows at Webster Hall or multiple shows at Bowery Ballroom, and I think we felt playing Bowery would be a more fun and intimate way to introduce these songs to our audience in New York," Dessner says. And we're excited about having different openers each night."

Here is the track list for "Boxer":

"Fake Empire"
"Mistaken for Strangers"
"Brainy"
"Squalor Victoria"
"Green Gloves"
"Slow Show"
"Apartment Story"
"Start a War"
"Guest Room"
"Racing Like a Pro"
"Ada"
"Gospel"

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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