The 10 Best Movie Soundtracks of the Decade (2000-2009)

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5. Almost Famous [Dreamworks] (2000)

The soundtrack of this decade's best cinematic ode to the glory years of rock 'n' roll could've just been a greatest hits of assorted tunes by Led Zeppelin, The Who and The Allman Brothers. While those bands do show up, the compilation plays more like the best classic rock mixtape your dad never made, including perfect live versions (Bowie covering The Velvet Underground's "I'm Waiting for the Man") and under-appreciated album cuts (The Who's "Sparks" from Tommy). And after the movie's sing-along scene, only the soulless can resist "Tiny Dancer." Justin Jacobs

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4. Garden State [Sony] (2004)
Despite the movie's bemoaned status among sentiment-allergic hipsters, this Grammy-winning collection of songs still packs a sweet punch. The surprising mix of indie darlings The Shins with classic artists like Nick Drake and Simon & Garfunkel alongside the up-tempo electronica of Frou Frou and Thievery Corporation made this album a pure pleasure from beginning to end. Emily Riemer

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3. I'm Not There [Sony] (2007)
Six different actors portrayed Bob Dylan in Todd Haynes' audacious 2007 biopic, and several dozen artist tackled the grizzled one's oevure on this two-disc soundtrack. From the mellow, brass-tinged saunter of Jim James and Calexico's take on "Goin' to Acapulco" to Karen O & The Million Dollar Basher's wiry take on "Highway 61 Revisited" on disc 1, to Mason Jennings' "The Times They Are A Changin'" (to which Christian Bale lip-synched as Jack Rollins) and Antony and the Johnsons' haunting rendition of "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," it was as true a tribute to Dylan's musical legacy as the film was to his smoke-and-mirrors persona. Rachael Maddux


2. Once [Columbia] (2007)
We hear a lot about break-up records, but The Frames’ Glen Hansard and newcomer Markéta Irglová gave us the loveliest falling-in-love record of the decade, as the Once co-stars fell slowly for one another, both on-screen and off. Hansard’s voice is as vulnerable as an open wound, and Irglová’s is the salve that makes everything OK. Josh Jackson (from The 50 Best Albums of the Decade)

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1. O Brother, Where Art Thou? [Mercury] (2001)
This old-timey country album and most unlikely hit may have signaled the last gasp of alternative country. On the bright side, it suggested that those alt-country values (rough-hewn vocals, acoustic instrumentation, a palpable connection to American roots music) had busted out of the sub-genre ghetto and crossed over into the mainstream. After all, the album did win the Grammy for Album of the Year. Some of our favorite female vocalists—one-named artists like Emmylou and Gillian—got much-deserved exposure thanks to this collection, which scored a freewheeling Coen Bros movie and did nothing but good for all concerned. Nick Marino (from The 50 Best Albums of the Decade)

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