41. The Avett Brothers, 'The Carpenter'
The Avetts are the best pop band in the alt-country corral. On their seventh album they complete an evolution from neo-bluegrass pickers to pure pop tune-crushers. The palette ranges from Nineties grunge to wintry front-porch lamentation to Beatles bounce, tied together by a sweet Southern-bro sentimentality. On the magnolia-scented waltz "A Father's First Spring," Scott Avett turns the cowboy-movie image of "blood on the floor" into an evocation of a daughter's birth that'll have you shedding a tear in your Sunday afternoon IPA.