If the seven-year gap since the release of Dirty Three’s last studio album, Cinder, has had any noticeable effect, it’s been to strengthen this Australian instrumental trio’s improvisational empathy. Violinist Warren Ellis, guitarist Mick Turner, and drummer Jim White continued to perform live during their recording hiatus, and their blend of sophisticated chops and dark moods has never been more evident. As a result, Toward the Low Sun joins Horse Stories, Ocean Songs, and Whatever You Love, You Are as a high point in one of post-rock’s premier catalogs. After the opening track, “Furnace Skies,” which approximates the superheated roar and free-jazz-drumming abandon of the band’s live shows, the trio (with Ellis and Turner doubling on electric and acoustic keyboards) ambles through seven more that bring to mind the most epic Neil Young and Crazy Horse and the most romantic early King Crimson, with touches of Mahavishnu Orchestra fury. Fans of Nick Cave’s Bad Seeds and Grinderman (Ellis plays in both) will recognize the noise-dirge aesthetic. The CD version is crisp and tightly focused, but the LP projects more aural breadth and depth, better capturing the strings’ raw timbres and the band’s emotional grandeur.