22. Eli Young Band, '10,000 Towns'
With the loose, barroom rumble of the Red Dirt Texas tradition and a knack for catchy pop polish, Eli Young Band's fifth LP boasts reliable country-rock anthems and smart acoustic strummers. "Hallelujah and amen for the lies I caught you in," they sing on "Revelation," propping a middle finger on the neck of their guitars — if the lyrics aren’t punishing enough, the dirty beat sure is. Paired with moments like the near-Semisonic-esque "Let's Do Something Tonight," 10,000 Towns showed how an earnest twang is possible without always resorting to balladry and slow-burners. M.M.