11. Elizabeth Cook, Welder, May 11, 2010
From June: Hill-top funerals, soup kitchens and backcountry hoe-downs become the stuff of quirky legend in Welder’s emotionally expansive tales, and though it features production by Don Was and guest appearances by Rodney Crowell and Buddy Miller, this album is all about Cook finally finding her voice—irreverent, hilarious and gritty as Appalachian soil. —Rachel Dovey
12. Sun Kil Moon, Admiral Fell Promises, July 13, 2010
We gave Mark Kozelek’s last album, April, a glowing review, saying: In this age of ProTools and tightly compressed sonic ambushes where so many bands concern themselves only with loudness, Kozelek sounds nearly old-fashioned. Guitars warm up in the stereo mix and choirs hide in the record’s depths. These technical advantages make the emotional translations more effective. —Rob O’Connor
13. Stars, The Five Ghosts, June 22, 2010
The Canadian group’s In Our Bedroom After the War was named one of our Top 100 Albums of 2007, and we can’t wait to see what the collective dreams up this time around.
14. Samantha Crain, You (Understood), June 8, 2010
We gave Crain’s debut album a 7.8 last year, saying: Lyrically, Crain avoids heavy-handedness. Some might argue that her vagueness is lazy; that she has no point of view or is afraid to make decisions. But there’s a beauty to the blank-slate possibility of her vignettes. —Steve LaBate
15. The Roots, How I Got Over, June 8, 2010
We caught up with the Roots last year, where drummer Amir Thompson talked Jimmy Fallon, Lorne Michaels and Cat Stevens.