There was some good competition, frankly: I don't think a single year has brought me so many albums I've actually enjoyed since the mid-80s. A new John Cale album (titled Hobo Sapiens), for instance. About 2/3rds of Bowie's latest effort. And this is also the year I discovered Queens of the Stone Age, who are a great deal of fun. Placebo put out Sleeping With Ghosts. I love this album greatly, though I doubly recommend the 'special edition' that came out a few months back, which bears a second disc composed of Placebo covering various artists (most are tracks which were all over the place on KaZaa, but which were IMPOSSIBLE to find clean cuts of; others were B-sides to their singles (and WHEN does Placebo do a Singles-and-B-sides disc, goddamnit: I want Miss Moneypenny!)). The soundtrack to Last Samurai and the soundtrack to Return of the King also both deserve honorable mentions.
Even so, British Sea Power's The Decline of British Sea Power stands head-and-shoulders above the rest, for me. It seems really... sui generis. The vocals vary from this weird thrashy thing to this polished whisper- and even more charmingly to me, they often involve very subtle puns or slantrhymes.
Oh the heavy water how it enfolds
The salt, the spray, the gorgeous undertow
Always, always, always the sea
I mean... dayumn.
The guitar is stellar- in a very Joy-Division/Echo-and-the-Bunnymen sort of vein.
Good stuff, folks. colubra-Bob sez- check it out.
So what music did you pick up this year that especially floored you?