4. Arcade Fire, 'The Suburbs'
Arcade Fire don't do anything small — so leave it to the Montreal collective to make an album of vast, orchestral rock that locates the battle for the human soul amid big houses and manicured lawns. The Suburbs is the band's most adventurous album yet: See the psychotic speed strings on "Empty Room," the Crazy Horse rush of "Month of May," the synth-pop disco of "Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)." Win Butler and his wife, Régine Chassagne, sing about suburban boredom, fear of change and wanting to have a kid of their own — always scaling their intimate confessions to arena-rock levels and finding beauty wherever they look.