94. Belle and Sebastian, Dear Catastrophe Waitress (Rough Trade, 2003)

Running on fumes for way too long (reaching a career nadir with the Storytelling soundtrack), these formerly winsome and twee Scots get Frankie Goes To Hollywood uber-producer Trevor Horn to get things going, and guess what? It’s fabulous all-the-way-through. The brighter, fuller production, smiley-face harmonies and ‘70s soul pastiches take a little getting used to, but once they make sense, it registers that this is Murdoch’s strongest set of songs since the album that will be near or at the top of this list. Everything glistens, especially the Thin Lizzy-quoting “I’m A Cuckoo”, the guitar-and-voice “Piazza New York Catcher” (as in, “…are you straight or are you gay?”) and the uptight, new wave-flavored closer, “Stay Loose”. It’s such a thrill to hear this most individualistic of bands evolve.