39. Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
"It's going to be a beautiful day" is one of the lines sung over an almost triumphant chorus on "One Day Like This." Those familiar with Elbow's general aesthetic may find that line surprising, but their generally melancholy music finds some light on this album. Not enough to blind you, just enough to help you see your way through.
38. Scott Walker - The Drift
What a freaking creepy album this is. But that's the fun of it, to experience extreme emotions without any of the consequences of life experiences that would be required to duplicate these kinds of feelings.
37. Thom Yorke - The Eraser
I usually don't like when a singer or someone else from a group goes solo, but it works well here as Thom is able to show that he really is the creative force of Radiohead.
36. TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain
It's difficult to figure out where all of their influences have come from, but it's a unique combination. They put them all together as best as they have on this album.
35. Band of Horses - Everything All the Time
This album seemed pretty simple and like nothing special until I heard it a few times and instead of being bored with it, I became entranced in it.
34. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
The guy's got ambition. Not that he's actually going to make an album about all 50 states, but that his music is anything but simplified and stripped down. "John Wayne Gacy, Jr." is one of the best songs of the decade.
33. Spoon - Gimme Fiction
Spoon didn't hit their creative peak here, but it wasn't much of a letdown, either. I don't think these guys are capable of putting out a bad album.
32. Wilco - A Ghost is Born
My attitutude about this album has shifted more times than I can count, but I've finally settled into thinking it's very underrated. It has variety, it has the pop gems, it has krautrock, and it has mystique.
31. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus
This is the only Bad Seeds album I've ever been able to get into. There's a definite overtone of gospel influence, which would normally turn me off of anything, but not this.
30. Wilco - Yankee Foxtrot Hotel
Like the Arcade Fire, I don't give these guys as much credit as most other people, but once the album settles in it really does have one of the best middle runs of any album of the decade.