The National, Mark Eitzel, Vernon Reid and Martha Wainwright were among the acts on hand Saturday to perform Bruce Springsteen's "Nebraska" album in its entirety at New York's World Financial Center W

The National, Mark Eitzel, Vernon Reid and Martha Wainwright were among the acts on hand Saturday to perform Bruce Springsteen's "Nebraska" album in its entirety at New York's World Financial Center Winter Garden, and the Boss couldn't resist putting in an appearance.

Springsteen joined the ensemble at the end of the concert for a cover of Woody and Jack Guthrie's "Oklahoma Hills" and then stuck around to converse with the artists backstage.

"I think he might have felt nostalgic after hearing 'Nebraska' played back at him by such a motley assortment of musicians," the National's Aaron Dessner tells Billboard.com. Springsteen featured the National's "About Today" in the music played in venues before shows on his recent solo tour, and Dessner enthuses, "It was almost absurd to me that he knows and likes our music."

The National has a reached a new level of visibility and critical appreciation thanks its 2005 Beggars Banquet debut, "Alligator." But the group isn't resting on its laurels, and is already working on writing new songs. "We hope to start recording in late spring," Dessner says.

Before then, the group will join Broken Social Scene for a Jan. 25 show at Tufts University in Boston and headline the Plug Awards Feb. 2 at New York's Webster Hall. Dessner says "a short east coast and west coast run" will follow in late March.

Fans can also hear the song "Wasp Nest," from the National's 2004 "Cherry Tree" EP, in the new George Clooney film "Syriana."