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Welcome to Leakage, a BYT column dedicated to listening to your favorite band’s releases weeks before the street date. Every week I’ll be giving you brief reviews of said leaks with an MP3 to sample. If you want us to take down your song, holla back.

Need to catch up? Browse the archive.

The National, High Violet

The National, High Violet (Release date: May 11, 2010): While the album is of the quality that you expect The National to be making after the triumphant Boxer and Alligator, the leak is definitely low grade. If you’re desperate to hear their new record — and I think a lot of people are — then go ahead and download it, but I would suggest waiting until it comes out before you listen to High Violet. Like last year’s Veckatimest, this record is best heard how it was meant to be.

Listen: The National — Bloodbuzz, Ohio | Like it?: Pre-order High Violet here | FYI: This record will be streaming at the New York Times Friday.

Jamie Lidell, Compass (Release date: May 18, 2010): To quote a friend: this record is like listening to a roller rink party. I would have to agree. Jamie Lidell’s soul inspired jams have always been great on their own, but the album’s producer, Beck, is the one that shines through on the record. Put on your dancing shoes for this one.

Listen: Jamie Lidell — Compass | Like it?: Pre-order Compass here

The Hold Steady, Heaven Is Whenever (Release date: May 4, 2010): This is the sound of a band in transition. It’s not your typical Hold Steady record, but it’s better than their last release — the scattershot Stay Positive. With the departure of keyboardist/all around nice guy Franz Nicolay, the band moved towards a “less anthemic” direction. Judging by the early singles you wouldn’t have understood what singer/ranter Craig Finn meant, but within the context of the record it makes sense. It’s not the band’s best work, but it’s a step away from the bar rock that laid the groundwork.

Listen: Stream the entire record over at NPR | Like it?: Pre-order Heaven Is Whenever here

Band of Horses, Infinite Arms (Release date: May 18, 2010): I would say that this record is the most disappointing of 2010 so far. I really enjoyed the last two records, but as of now I can’t stomach much of Infinite Arms. Maybe it will change, but I wouldn’t recommend this record unless you’re into an over stylized, alt-country mess. But “Factory” is worthy of a listen.

Listen: Band of Horses — Factory | Like it?: Pre-order Infinite Arms here

The New Pornographers, Together (Release date: May 4, 2010): The New Pornographers are comfort food to me musically, so I’m not going to be the most objective source when I say I’m enjoying the new record. It’s not much of  a departure from their past releases, just another consistent album of gems that will shape up nicely with the rest of their canon. Get a first listen of it tonight @ My Favorite Dress @ ST.EX

Listen: The New Pornographers — Your Hands (Together) | Like it?: Pre-order Together here