4. Elliott Smith, From a Basement on the Hill (Anti-) From a Basement on the Hill presents a rawer Elliott Smith than we had recently become accustomed to; its songs are rough around the edges and frequently devoid of Smith's impeccable bridges. Still, the final record of Smith's career is loaded with peerless melodies that guide the lyrics to an emotional resonance lacking pretension. From naked acoustic tracks "A Fond Farewell" and "Memory Lane" to the kitchen-sink absolution of "King's Crossing" and "Coast to Coast", From a Basement on the Hill plays like a best-of collection filled with previously unknown songs.
12. Tom Waits, Real Gone (Anti-) When it comes to Tom Waits, weirder is better. Real Gone reclaims the farmland funkmeister thread of Bone Machine, a sloppy stew of cacophonous percussion and Mark Ribot's Ginzu knife guitar. "Hoist That Rag" and "Make It Rain" groove with weathered authority and knowing futility -- eyes rolling into the back of the head, James Brown singing Kurt Weill, real gone funk stuff. Waits is the undisputed heavyweight of surrealist blues.