Morse code is used in several places throughout the album's packaging, continuing the nautical themes found in a few of the tracks' lyrics ("Take You on a Cruise", "Public Pervert", "A Time to Be So Small"). Code for the word "antics" is used on the back panel of the slipcase, as well as in the booklet; other words included in code are "length", "narc", "cruise", and "exit". Photography of the band used in the interior of the album was produced by Ami Barwell.
Upon its release, the album received very positive reviews, with a Metascore of 80 out of 100 ("generally favorable reviews") from Metacritic.E! Online gave it an A and said, "There's something totally irresistible about Antics: The air of mystery, the bleak but hopeful arrangements and the melodies so sharp and moving that they might inspire a night of heroic partying." Josh Modell of The A.V. Club gave it a favorable review and said that the album "may be predictable, but if predictable means rock-solid and mostly magnificent, why bother asking for more?" Mikael Wood of The Village Voice also gave it a favorable review and said, "What makes Antics such an improvement over Bright Lights is how capable Interpol have become at complementing Banks's lovely ambiguity with an increasingly precise post-punk throb." Dan Tallis of BBC Music likewise gave it a favorable review and said, "What's inescapable is that Antics does sound similar to Turn On the Bright Lights. This is despite the drummer's attempt to lift the gloom by introducing a poppy, even dance drum beat during two or three tracks. [...] However, this record has been widely praised. The difference is that Interpol have progressed. The band haven't repeated the formula, they've improved upon it."
Dave Simpson of The Guardian gave it four stars out of five, and said it "manages to dabble with tension and still emerge with something life-affirming."Uncut also gave it four stars out of five and called it "exhilarating, morbid, romantic, cool". The NME gave it a score of eight out of ten, and called it "an album scored through with a vehement beauty that, with each listen, becomes all the more acute for its unwillingness to shy away from life's bleaker, more painful moments." Jennifer Nine of Yahoo! Music UK gave it a score of eight stars out of ten and called it "a suppler record than its older brother, largely avoiding the skittish tempos of Turn On... tracks like "Roland" in favour of elegant curves and harmonies [...] though the road-honed likes of "Slow Hands" and "Not Even Jail" still hit bruisingly hard." Similarly, Under the Radar gave it eight stars out of ten, and said that while it is "ultimately a more sophisticated record, it's probably a less obvious one, too." Merek Cooper of Playlouder likewise gave it four stars out of five and said that Interpol "no longer rely on dense production and atmospherics, because they don’t need to: Antics is bare-boned and beautiful."Billboard gave it a favorable review and called it "even better [than Bright Lights], possibly because the band isn't trying so hard to be weird." Salvatore Ciolfi of PopMatters also gave it eight stars out of ten and said, "Altogether, the album's feel is much more lively, bouncy, and accessible, and in combination with the band's ubiquitous ambient underpinnings, the upbeat tone often makes this collection inspiring." Bobby Mann of Flak Magazine also gave it a favorable review and said that "Interpol is less indebted to its influences, creating a distinct sound from the distinguishing characteristics that drew those comparisons in the first place."
Other reviews were average or mixed: Blender gave the album a score of three stars out of five, and called it "Less lugubrious and more melodic than [Bright Lights], but the improvement is marginal." Amneziak of Tiny Mix Tapes also gave it three stars out of five and called it "Very straightforward Interpol-lite." Mark Richardson of Paste likewise gave the album three stars out of five and said that its songs "feel heavy and significant enough--due to dynamic production and hooky choruses--even if we don't know exactly what they mean."The New York Times gave it an average review and called it "fairly uneven". Andre Perry of Crawdaddy! gave the album a mixed review and said, "I'd be overstating myself to posit Antics as a wholly offensive listening experience. Yes, I get it: this record actually sounds okay when it's being played in the background at a house party or at the rock 'n' roll bar. But that's as good as it gets: background music."Los Angeles Times gave the album two-and-a-half stars out of four and said, "The band works too hard to seem mysterious." Christopher Gray of The Austin Chronicle gave it two-and-a-half stars out of five, and said that if the album "doesn't exactly blaze off in bold new directions, it does offer an opportunity for Interpol to do some fine-tuning (not that they need much) and settle comfortably into their black, velvet-lined pocket."Robert Christgau of the Village Voice named "Next Exit" as the only good song on the album.