This list will surely evolve as I hear more albums from this decade, but as of now this is what I've come up with.
This decade was an interesting decade - a decade where indie became mainstream, Justin Timberlake evolved from a boy-band pretty boy to critically acclaimed pop artist, and American Idol did a great job of killing everything that's good about music.
50. Iron & Wine - The Creek Drank the Cradle
Before Sam Beam made the transition further and further away from his homegrown, 4-track, low key approach to making music, he made this excellent collection of quiet acoustic folk. His voice is almost whispered, and you can hear every guitar screech and every breath. An extremely relaxing, calming, and reassuring album.
49. Dinosaur Jr. - Farm
J. Mascis loves his guitar. It's always been by far the most prominant feature of his band, and nothing changes here. But here, he manages a feat that isn't easy - he grabs me with his guitar solos. I've never been one that's huge for guitar solos. And the songs are all solid. Kudos to these guys.
48. Caribou - Andorra
The first thing that caught me about this album was the cover. One of the best of the decade. But the music inside is great, too. A really great summery record of hazy pop.
47. The Shins - Chutes Too Narrow
A record with songs so extremely catchy they make it seem a little too easy. It makes you wonder why you couldn't just wake up one day and write a record full of great songs.
46. The Jayhawks - Rainy Day Music
Over time I've become more and more open to country influenced music. This is further down the path but is full of addictive and uplifting songs.
45. Sunny Day Real Estate - The Rising Tide
The last and best album from this group.
44. Spoon - Girls Can Tell
I can still remember the excitement I felt as I discovered these guys virtually on my own and pressed play after buying the album with little expectation. It immediately brought a smile to my face and was exactly what I wanted at the time.
43. Massive Attack - 100th Window
A very underrated album, this is much more subversive than their prior albums. There's a sense of tranquility I get from these nearly hypnotic songs.
42. Reigning Sound - Too Much Guitar
Garage rock like it's the 1960's again. Some of the best throwback rock music of the decade.
41. Arcade Fire - Funeral
I never grasped onto this album as much as nearly everyone around me, but it is a solid album nonetheless.
40. The Shins - Oh, Inverted World
Just a great, warm sounding summery album. Every song is top notch and it flows extremely well as a cohesive unit. Did this album change YOUR life?