Who doesn't love best-of lists? Below, you'll find the top-10 albums that rocked our offices and our iPods this year—from Argentina's answer to Bjork to a singing actress that (shock!) doesn't suck—along with a playlist of the songs that we just couldn't get out of our heads. Enjoy. Conor Oberst, Conor Oberst (Merge). Oberst exists for the lyric-philes who look beyond vocal prowess for something to hang their emotions on—and, boy, does he provide it. As Bright Eyes, he's often trumpeted as the next Bob Dylan or Paul Simon, and those tired comparisons only seem to set him up to fail. The thing is, he passes just about every time.—Paul SaitowitzShe & Him, Volume One (Merge). In the early weeks of 2008, the threat of an M. Ward / Zooey Deschanel (the actress?!) musical collaboration loomed dark and menacing on the horizon. There is no way this will be good, I remember thinking. Thankfully, I was wrong. Ward's downplayed, effortless style is neatly complemented by the graceful elegance of Deschanel's voice. —David TowJuana Molina, Un Día (Domino). The fifth album from this former comedienne from Argentina is her most cohesive—and, quite possibly, finest—among a unique catalog. Constantly evolving, Molina's music is blurry and challenging, yet her hypnotic and strange ballads are never inaccessible. —Scott McDonaldRa Ra Riot, The Rhumb Line (V2/Barsuk). A stellar debut of soaring indie rock with a string section too genuine to be schtick. Music with sincerity—equal parts stirring triumph and debilitating sorrow—that can't be affected or denied. —Nathan DinsdaleFleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes (Sup Pop). This debut is relaxing, pretty, nice and full of meadow, mountain and lark references that will make you want to grow a beard and hike far off into the hills (with an iPod looping Fleet Foxes, of course).—Kinsee MorlanMax Tundra, Parallax Error Beheads You (Domino). Playful, innocent and childlike, Parallax Error sounds like every bad top-40 song you've secretly loved, meticulously layered on top of one another. It's so insanely overflowing with ideas, you just have to smile at the ecstatic genius of it. —Todd KroviakNoah and the Whale, Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down (CherryTree). These London boys love Wes Anderson and pay homage to The Squid and the Whale director Noah Baumbach with their name. But their music (think Belle & Sebastian and The Magnetic Fields) is as deep as the grave the album meditates on. Death may be the unifying theme, but each song is cinematic and bittersweet. As they put it: “Death helps life survive.”—Kelly DavisMargot & The Nuclear So and So's, Animal! / Not Animal (Epic). This indie-rock band's underappreciated second album and major-label debut was released as two different versions when the band and the record company couldn't agree on which songs should make the cut. Surprisingly, both are amazing.—Seth CombsSteve Poltz, Traveling (Emergent/92E). His most mature, expansive, well-balanced exploration of quirky melody and personal songcraft yet. The pure, enduring joy on tracks like “Rains” and “Brief History of My Life” will win over most discerning listeners, just you watch. —Will ShillingStephen Malkmus & The Jicks, Real Emotional Trash (Matador). Malkmus' latest disc takes the Jicks outfit to an entirely new level as Janet Weiss (ex-Sleater Kinney) takes up residence on the drum stool. As a result, Malkmus gets to safely embrace his classic-rock-guitar-god alter ego that was only hinted at when he fronted Pavement. —Dryw KeltzCityBeat's 2008 PlaylistSide A: “The '59 Sound,” The Gaslight Anthem; “Right Hand on My Heart,” The Whigs; “Kids,” MGMT; “A Milli,” Lil Wayne; “The Clap,” Bostich + Fussible; “I Don't Always Know What You're Saying,” Ladyhawk; “California Girls,” The Magnetic Fields; “Jesus is a Good Name to Moan,” Mugison; “Honey Bee,” Lucinda Williams; “Blue Flower / Blue Flame,” Destroyer.Side B: “Slapped Actress,” The Hold Steady; “Goner,” Dead Confederate; “Nothing Ever Happened,” Deerhunter; “Mikey,” The Cool Kids; “Stuck to You,” Nikka Costa; “This is a Vengeance,” Lualta; “The Girl I Don't Know,” Teitur; “I'll Fly Away,” Castanets; “Skinny Love,” Bon Iver; “In Color,” Jamey Johnson; “Yes We Can,” Will.i.am.