7.Chairlift “Something” (Columbia) — For their major-label debut, Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberley's pastel pop became more slick and accomplished, and they wear it so well on “Wrong Opinion,” and “Amanaemonesia” that these songs could pass for honest-to-goodness new wave classics. Chairlift's best song on “Something,” “I Belong In Your Arms,” deserved to be a runaway hit in 2012. For bonus points, they recorded the best Japanese-language version of an American alt-rock song since the Flaming Lips' nihongo version of “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.”
8.Jessie Ware “Devotion” (Island) — A former backup singer, British chanteuse Jessie Ware debuted with an uncommonly elegant collection of R&B ballads that surrounded her clear, emotional voice with the kind of spacious production usually reserved for Sade or Bryan Ferry, but with enough nods to A-list dubstep to feel entirely modern.
9.Blur “Parklive” (EMI/Parlophone) — This is the sound of about 100,000 people renewing their love affair with one of Britain's most beloved bands. Recorded in London's Hyde Park at the close of 2012's Summer Olympics, “Parklive” is one of those uncommon live albums that capture both the enthusiasm of the crowd and a reunited band sounding like it deserves every cheer.
10.Japandroids “Celebration Rock” (Polyvinyl) — Two guys from Vancouver make the sound of at least five on this loud, bashing slab of dazed and confused rock. Exuberant blasts of hormones and adrenaline like “The Nights of Wine and Roses” and “Younger Us” sound like the best night of high school, the one everyone wants to have.