1. Fountains of Wayne: Traffic and Weather (Virgin). One fiendish earworm after another. Adam Schlesinger is a freakin' genius!
2. Bruce Springsteen: Magic (Columbia). His best since The River. And if you don't get the Iraq War subtext, you're not paying attention.
3. Arcade Fire: Neon Bible (Merge). Gloriously anthemic stuff - so good that I have overcome my longtime prejudice against bands that use a triangle.
4. Feist: The Reminder (Cherrytree/Interscope). Isn't she just the cutest thing?
5. Amy Winehouse: Back to Black (Universal Republic). I can't help it: I think it's so cool that the Keith Richards of her generation is a Jewish woman.
6. Lucinda Williams: West (Lost Highway). I can't help it: I think it's so cool that the Bob Dylan of her generation is a goyish woman.
7. The Hives: The Black and White Album (A&M/Octone). Garage rock from a place (Sweden) that obviously has high-end garages.
8. Arctic Monkeys: Favourite Worst Nightmare (Domino). Sharp songwriting, lethal performances - and so British you can practically smell the Guinness.
9. Mary Weiss: Dangerous Game (Norton). Comeback of the year (and yes, I also heard the Stooges).
10. Various Artists: I'm Not There (Columbia). The good news about this soundtrack: Most of the Dylan covers are revelatory. The bad news: You can't see Cate Blanchett.
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