2. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
Despite the fact that this year's top ten consists primarily of bands who have been here before, the top two are newcomers to the honor. Arcade Fire made it at #16 in 2007, but this is their first appearance in the top ten. The Grammy nominations, numerous appearances on music critic top ten lists, and the fact that this album's subject matter was loosely relevant to my year, weren't quite enough to vault them to my #1. Instead, that spot goes to an artist who had never appeared anywhere near my year-end lists prior to 2010.
3. The National - High Violet
With two consecutive top five albums to their credit, The National are rapidly becoming one of my absolute favorite bands. Of course, they're a critical darling as well, as High Violet appears on numerous end-of-year lists, including album of the year honors from Crawdaddy!, DIY, and musicOMH. Surprisingly, despite all the critical accolades, they didn't earn a Grammy nomination, although honestly, I'm not really sure what the criteria are for those awards.
4. Band of Horses - Infinite Arms
Band of Horses' Infinite Arms goes up against Arcade Fire's The Suburbs, Vampire Weekend's Contra, and a few others for the Best Alternative Music Album Grammy. Along with The National, they also earned their second consecutive top five finish this year, with both bands repeating what they accomplished in 2007.
5. Wolf Parade - Expo 86
As I said in Part 4, this is a mostly predictable top ten, at least in terms of a number of artists who have clearly established themselves as mainstays at the head of the list. Not to be completely overshadowed by The Hold Steady and Drive-By Truckers, this marks Wolf Parade's third consecutive album in the top ten. Although there are many highlights on this album, "What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had to Go This Way)" is one that I'll never grow tired of, and one of my top three songs of the year.
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