Penny Sparkle by Blonde Redhead
An enthralling album from start to finish. Reminded me a lot of old-school 4AD (think Cocteau Twins or This Mortal Coil; yes it's that good), with a beautiful melancholy that seemed to suit just as well in late summer as it did in midwinter. My Plants Are Dead is my personal favourite, but it really feels like a proper 'mood' album, in the vein of, say Disintegration, ( ) or Victorialand.
Honourable mentions go to:
High Violet by The National
In any other year would have been a dead cert. I only have the last three albums, but tracks like the steely Little Faith, the jolly and downbeat at the same time Anyone's Ghost and the towering Afraid of Everyone must rank amongst the bands finest, even taking into account previous wonders such as Mistaken for Strangers or Squalor Victoria.