40. She & Him – Volume Two
M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel’s second collection of cutesy, retro pop songs.
39. The Besnard Lakes – The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night
Epic rock composed from tense guitar feedback, thumping drums and falsetto vocals.
38. Wyatt/Atzmon/Stephen – For the Ghosts Within
Oddball jazz standards and self-covers from Robert Wyatt and distinguished friends.
37. Allo Darlin’ – Allo Darlin’
Unpretentious bedroom twee on the half-Aussie, half-English quartet’s debut.
36. Yeasayer – Odd Blood
The Brooklyn trio cherry-pick noises from all over, for their electro-psychedelic second.
35. Antony and the Johnsons – Swanlights
His restraint never wavers, but this shows off Antony Hegarty at his most diverse.
34. James Blake – The Bells Sketch EP; CMYK EP; Klavierwerke EP
A surprisingly intimate trio of EPs have made Blake next year’s great electronic hope.
33. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
The Montreal collective remain serious and grand, evoking Springsteen on their latest.
32. Robyn – Body Talk
Mostly released in EP form earlier, this is chart pop with heart and a sense of humour.
31. The Phantom Band – The Wants
The Scotsmen revisit the experimental soul of The Beta Band, mixing disparate styles.
30. Peter Broderick – How They Are
His short set of neoclassical pieces and sparse folk songs uses the simplest instrumentation.
29. Grinderman – Grinderman 2
Second time round, Nick Cave’s dirty side project offers more entertainingly sordid rants.
28. Everything Everything – Man Alive
Jerking between ideas, the quartet’s frenetic, fun debut is an obvious product of its time.
27. Eels – Tomorrow Morning
To close a trilogy, E returns to optimistic form with his most pleasing pop songs in years.
26. Caribou – Swim
Highly detailed compositions make Swim one of the coolest electronic albums of the year.
25. Olan Mill – Pine
A short, stunning mixture of acoustic and electronic, reminiscent of Kid A’s ambient closer.
Post-punk and vintage electro soundtrack Murphy’s latest set of arch monologues.
23. Field Music – Field Music (Measure)
Closely measured performances abound in an set of succinct, often cerebral, rock songs.
22. Ólöf Arnalds – Innundir Skinni
Rustic but fanciful folksongs and a duet with Björk on Iceland’s album of the year.
21. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
His latest comeback is overwhelmingly tasteless, egocentric and very, very catchy.
Albums selected from this longlist.