23. k.d. lang, Ingenue (Sire, 1992)

Everyone's favorite Canadian, Patsy Cline-worshipping lesbian diva doesn't entirely leave the country-western stylings of her previous work behind here. Since she never really conformed to many genre strictures anyway, this shift towards torchy, adult-contemporary pop didn't seem so sudden at the time. A dozen years on, however, Ingenue radiates bravery and smarts in an environment where far too many artists allow themselves to be advertised and consumed in neat, little identifiable packages. Its music creates a special, singular, hard-to-classify space that provides a perfect backdrop for Lang's nuanced, drama-drenched voice. This is also as much of a coming-out album as Very: its deserved breakthrough single, "Constant Craving", warmly surveys the pain and eventual liberation of a repressed desire surfacing after many frozen, contained years.