21. Saint Etienne, Tiger Bay (Heavenly, 1996)

Until recently, I underrated this band's third album because I only knew the original US version, which replicated the UK edition's first two thirds but replaced the rest with superfluous remixes and a charming-but-slight Christmas song. This version, released somewhere in Europe a few years later but currently available at an uncommonly low import price, radically re-imagines the UK version--the first and last tracks are in the same position, but everything else is rearranged with four additional songs (including the irresistible "He's On The Phone", a hit single from '95). Initially, the sequencing seems a little jarring, but after a few spins, it solidifies well enough. Certainly the most cinematic (and diverse) of all their albums, Tiger Bay could easily accompany the painterly long takes of a Terence Davies film. It's also a stunning travelogue: just reference the titles of expansive soundscapes like "Urban Clearway", "Like a Motorway", "Pale Movie" or "Tankerville". Most striking, however, is the hymn-like "Former Lover" and the gentle, orchestral centerpiece "Marble Lions"--both take risks that would've seemed inconceivable back when the band was doing dance-pop covers of Neil Young.